The Rights of Unmarried Parents - Indiana

Date: June 2022


Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-9-2-9; 31-9-2-88; 31-9-2-100

An 'alleged father' is any person claiming to be or charged with being a child's biological other parent. A 'parent,' for purposes of the juvenile law, is a biological or an adoptive parent. Unless otherwise specified, the term includes both parents, regardless of their marital status. For the purposes of chapters 31-34-1, 31-34-8, 31-34-16, 31-34-19, 31-34-20, and 31-35-2, the term 'parent' includes an alleged other parent.

A 'putative father' is a person of any age who is alleged to be or claims that they may be a child's other parent but to whom the following apply:

  • The person is not presumed to be the child's other parent under § 31-14-7-1(1) or 31-14-7-1(2).
  • The person has not established parentage of the child before the filing of an adoption petition either in a court proceeding or by executing a parentage affidavit under § 16-37-2-2.1.

Use of Parentage Registries

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-19-5-2; 31-19-5-3; 31-19-5-5

The putative father registry is established within the Department of Health. The registry is used to determine the name and address of the other parent for the following purposes:

  • When the name and address of the other parent have not been disclosed by the birth parent of the child, on or before the date the birth parent executes a consent to the child's adoption, to an attorney or an agency that is arranging the adoption of the child
  • When the other parent may have been responsible for the conception of a child for whom a petition for adoption has been or may be filed so that notice of the adoption may be provided to the putative other parent

If, on or before the date the birth parent of a child executes a consent to the child's adoption, the birth parent does not disclose to the attorney or agency that is arranging or may arrange an adoption of the child the name or address, or both, of the putative other parent of the child, the putative parent must register under this chapter to entitle them to notice of the child's adoption.

Alternate Means to Establish Parentage

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-37-2-2.1

A parentage affidavit may be executed through a hospital or a local health department. Immediately before or after the birth of a child who is born out of wedlock, a person who attends or plans to attend the birth, including personnel of all public or private birthing hospitals, shall provide an opportunity for the child's birth parent and a person who reasonably appears to be the child's biological parent to execute an affidavit acknowledging parentage of the child.

A parentage affidavit must be executed on a form provided by the department. The parentage affidavit is valid only if the affidavit is executed as follows:

  • If executed through a hospital, the parentage affidavit must be completed no more than 72 hours after the child's birth.
  • If executed through a local health department, the parentage affidavit must be completed before the child has reached the age of emancipation.

A parentage affidavit is not valid if it is executed after the birth parent of the child has executed a consent to adoption of the child and a petition to adopt the child has been filed.

Notwithstanding any other law, a person who is a party to a parentage affidavit executed under this section may, within 60 days of the date that a parentage affidavit is executed, file an action in a court with jurisdiction over parentage to request an order for a genetic test.

Except as provided in this section, if a person has executed a parentage affidavit in accordance with this section, the executed parentage affidavit conclusively establishes the person as the legal parent of a child without any further proceedings by a court.

Required Information

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-19-5-7(a); 16-37-2-2.1(e)

The department shall maintain the following information in the registry:

  • The following regarding the putative other parent:
    • Name
    • Address at which they may be served with notice of an adoption
    • Social Security number
    • Date of birth
  • The following regarding the birth parent, if known:
    • Name, including all other names known to the putative other parent that the birth parent uses
    • Address
    • Social Security number
    • Date of birth
  • The name and place of birth of the child, if known
  • The date that the department receives a putative other parent's registration
  • The name of an attorney or agency that requests the department to search the registry to determine whether a putative other parent is registered in relation to a birth parent whose child is or may be the subject of an adoption
  • The date that the attorney or agency submits a request
  • Any notice of a filing of a petition to establish parentage as described in § 31-14-9-0.5
  • Any other information that the department determines is necessary to access the information in the registry

A parentage affidavit form executed under § 16-37-2-2.1 must contain the following:

  • The birth parent's full name, Social Security number, date of birth, and address
  • The other parent's full name, Social Security number, date of birth, and address
  • The child's full name, date of birth, and birthplace
  • A brief explanation of the legal significance of signing a voluntary parentage affidavit
  • A statement signed by both parents indicating that they understand the following:
    • That signing a parentage acknowledgment affidavit is voluntary
    • Their rights and responsibilities under the affidavit
    • The alternatives to signing the affidavit
    • The consequences of signing the affidavit

Revocation of Claim to Parentage

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-19-5-19; 16-37-2-2.1

A putative other parent may revoke a registration at any time by submitting a signed, notarized statement revoking the registration.

A parentage affidavit that is properly executed under § 16-37-2-2.1 may not be rescinded more than 60 days after the parentage affidavit is executed unless a court does the following:

  • Determines that fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact existed in the execution of the parentage affidavit
  • Orders a genetic test, at the request of a person who is a party to a parentage affidavit, and the test indicates that the person is excluded as the other parent of the child

Unless good cause is shown, a court shall not suspend the legal responsibilities of a party to the executed parentage affidavit during a challenge to the affidavit. The court may not set aside the parentage affidavit unless a genetic test excludes the person who executed the parentage affidavit as the child's genetic other parent.

Access to Information

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-19-5-21

The department shall furnish a certified copy of a putative other parent's registration form and a copy of any notice of a filing of a petition to establish parentage prepared under § 31-14-9-0.5, upon written request by any of the following:

  • A putative other parent
  • A birth parent
  • A child
  • Any party or attorney of record in a pending adoption
  • An attorney who represents prospective adoptive parents, petitioners in an adoption, a birth parent, a putative other parent, or a licensed child-placing agency
  • A licensed child-placing agency that represents prospective adoptive parents, petitioners in an adoption, a birth parent, or a putative other parent
  • A court that presides over a pending adoption

The department may release the certified copy of the registration form to a putative other parent, birth parent, or child only if the information contained in the registration form names the requesting person.