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Examining custodial rights for unmarried fathers

Most may assume the matter of child custody in Indianapolis to be fairly cut-and-dry: when parents separate, both the father and the mother have equal custodial rights. Yet what if you are not married to your child’s mother? Many men come to us here at Schembs Law after having separated from their children’s mothers wondering what sort of custody rights they may have. The answer is often not an easy one. There are, however, methods through which you may be granted such a benefit.

The Annotated Code of Indiana does indeed state your child’s mother is automatically granted full legal custody of your child if he or she is born out of wedlock. In such an event, your first step should be to sign an affidavit of paternity. Such a document can be obtained from the hospital where your child was delivered. In such a case, it must be signed by both you and the mother within 72 hours of his or her birth. If you wish to establish paternity after that, the proper paperwork must be obtained through your local health department.

It should be remembered, however, that establishing paternity does not immediately grant you equal custody rights to your child. You must petition the court for those rights through a paternity suit. In such a hearing, the court relies on whatever scenario it deems to be in the best interest of your child when determining custody or visitation. Some of the factors it considers when making this determination include:

  •          Your relationship with your child and his or her mother
  •          The physical and mental health of you, your child, and his or her mother
  •          Whether you intend to relocate now or in the future

You can discover more information regarding father’s rights by continuing to explore our site. 

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Indianapolis, IN 46204

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