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Federal Judge Orders Paternity Requirement Improvements

By Nottage and Ward on February 2, 2011

On Thursday, January 27, a federal judge ordered Indiana officials to stop refusing parents who are not married an easy way to identify a child’s legal father if one or both parents don’t have a Social Security number, IndyStar.com reports.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit against the Indiana State Department of Health by families whose immigration status restricts them from obtaining a Social Security number. Specifically, the lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of how paternity affidavits are issued, which are forms that unmarried parents can fill out to establish a child’s legal father. According to an attorney representing the families, the policy harms both legal and illegal residents, since many people who are in the U.S. legally can’t obtain Social Security numbers with certain kinds of visas.

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