Paternity Laws When Two Men Claim To Be Dad

Noblesville Indiana Divorce LawyerQuestion:

I have a question about paternity laws and fathers rights. My husband found out he may be the father of a child by an old ex-girlfriend.

The man who she cheated on my husband with “claimed” that the child was his, but she now says the child is my husband’s and not this other man.

If my husband is the father, he wants to be involved in the child’s life. What are his rights if he is deemed the biological father but this other man has already claimed to be the dad and has served in a father figure role to this child for many years?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Indiana child custody laws where I am licensed to practice.

The answer to your question will depend on how the man who “claimed” the child did so. If he claimed the child by signing an agreement establishing paternity that was filed with the court, it will be much more difficult to establish the paternity of the child, since that has already been legally done.

If the child was born while the mother was married, the child is presumed to be a child of the husband and wife, and the court will be hesitant to rule that the husband is not the father, especially if the husband has been filling the role of a father in the child’s life.

However, if a paternity test shows the husband is not the father and the biological father is known or made a party to the paternity action, the court may establish the paternity of the biological father over the child.

Unfortunately, juvenile paternity cases are confidential and you will not be able to access information on the case through the court. To establish paternity of the child, you may file a petition to establish paternity with the court. Since the child is not under two years old, you must bring the case “by next friend” of the child, meaning, on behalf of the child.

The court may then decide to order a paternity test to determine the father of the child. The court will not remove one father of the child without a replacement because it is not in the best interest of a child not to have a father on whom the child can rely for care and support.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Noblesville, Indiana Divorce Lawyer Sara Pitcher, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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