As Father's Day approaches, let me start by saying: I am a proud father and I truly respect men who step up to the plate on a daily basis and love, nurture and support their children. However, this column takes aim at a problem that seems to be all too common. Here's how it goes: A father calls and wants to go to court and request a DNA test to “make sure” the child is really his, only problem is, the child is five years old and the father signed a paternity affidavit at the hospital when the child was born (so that the baby could have his last name). In Indiana, there are two ways to establish paternity (that you are a child's father), by requesting DNA testing through the Courts or by signing a paternity affidavit. An affidavit is simply a sworn statement that something is true. In this context, you swear that you are the biological father of a child. Once you sign a paternity affidavit, as far as the law is concerned, you are the child's father—period. That means it doesn't matter if you later find out that someone else is really the father, or as the child gets older, it looks more and more like your best friend, or you learn that…well you get the point, once you sign, in street terms, you're stuck like Chuck! In legal terms, it means that you are responsible for paying child support, providing health insurance and you have visitation rights. However, if you sign a paternity affidavit at the hospital, you have sixty days to ask the Courts for a DNA test. If the test shows that you are not the father, then you're no longer responsible for the child. After sixty days, you can request a Court to “set aside” a paternity affidavit. However, requests to set aside are only granted in “extreme and rare” cases. On the other hand, a child's last name can be easily changed. The moral of the story is that if you are not married and your baby mama, boo, girl, shorty, whatever you call her, has a baby and there is any doubt that the child is yours, get DNA testing and then if the child is yours, BE A FATHER and then the child can rightfully have your last name.
About the Author
Corey L. Scott, was born and raised in East Chicago, Indiana. Upon graduation from East Chicago Central High School, Corey attended Indiana State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology. Upon graduation, Corey accepted a position with the Marion County Superior Court, Juvenile Division where he served with distinction for the next nine years, eventually being promoted to Director of the Youth Counseling Department. Pursuing his dream of becoming an attorney, Corey attended the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis. While in law school, Corey was an Indiana Council on Legal Education Opportunity (ICLEO) fellow and participated in Moot Court competitions. He also worked in the Marion Superior Court, Criminal Division as a bailiff and research assistant to the Honorable Tanya Walton Pratt, who serves as a Judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Corey also served as an internship law clerk to the Honorable Judge, Margret G. Robb, at the Indiana Court of Appeals. Finally, upon graduation from law school, Corey had the distinct honor and privilege to serve as a law clerk to the Honorable Justice, Robert D. Rucker, who sits on the Indiana Supreme Court. Corey then became an associate with Mike Norris Law Office, where he specialized in bankruptcy law with a main concentration on working to assist families obtain a fresh start through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Still a young attorney, Corey then served as a public defender at the Marion County Public Defender Agency. In this position, Corey gained invaluable trial experience by defending clients in a wide range of matters from misdemeanors to serious felonies on a daily basis. It was also during this time that Corey discovered his passion for representing and serving "everyday people." An entrepreneur at heart, Corey established the Law Office of Corey L. Scott, P.C. Since then, he and his staff have served the greater Indianapolis community and surrounding counties in several legal disciplines including: Bankruptcy, Criminal Defense and Family Law. In keeping with his vision, Corey L. Scott, P.C., is a client focused, results oriented general law practice that endeavors to provide legal solutions for "everyday people" charged with a crime, dealing with financial crisis or going through a difficult divorce. Corey has also been active serving the greater Indianapolis community by participating in pro bono programs such as "Ask a Lawyer," the "Modest Means" panel program which allows individuals to afford legal counsel at a fraction of normal rates, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic and the Heartland Pro Bono Council program. Corey is a proud member of the Indianapolis Bar Association, Indiana Bar Association, American Bar Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.