When my daughter was born, I didn’t file an affadavit of paternity.  There was a stack of paperwork in the hospital room, but we didn’t pay much attention to it (understandably, our minds were on other things).  I did glance at the form, but it was legalese–which, to me, might as well be Chinese in pig Latin–and I set it aside.  It didn’t make any sense to me, I didn’t understand its significance, and I’m certainly not in the habit of signing legal documents that I don’t understand.  Nobody at the hospital came into the room to explain what the various forms meant, so they sat there blank when we left.

That was a mistake.

Now that I want to establish legal paternity, I’m completely up a tree.  Every single person I’ve talked to–lawyers, the health department, the hospital, the county where she was born, the county where we resided, the county where she lives now, various courthouses and prosecutors–has given me a different answer.

Most recently, a lawyer who claims to specialize in family law referred me to the county courthouse where I live.  I went there and filled out a stack of paperwork that isn’t meant to apply to fathers seeking to establish legal paternity–apparently no such forms exist, and it was the closest they could come (it’s designed for custodial mothers going after deadbeat dads).  I forked over some more money, only to be told that there’s nothing they can do for me and that I would have to go to the county where my daughter now lives and start over.  When I tried that, they told me that I couldn’t do anything; I would have to have my daughter’s mother go to the courthouse and fill out the paperwork that is intended to establish me as my daughter’s legally recognized father.  You really think she’s going to do that?  Heck no.  I know her; they don’t.  She won’t do it.

By now I’m getting really tired of the run-around, so I figured I’d call some lawyers in Indianapolis instead of the mouthpieces in these idiotic little podunk farm towns.  First guy I talk to tells me that he’s not quite sure what I should do–I might have to go through a third county (where my daughter was born), but he’ll look into it and share his discoveries for the low, low price of $300 an hour.  Next one I talk to tells me that I should hire a lawyer in the county where she now lives.

More of the same run-around, in other words.

Know how long I’ve been messing with this?  Months.  Know how much money I’ve spent?  Don’t ask.  Know how much I’ve accomplished?  Nada.  Know how frustrating it is?

Seems like I have two choices:  1).  Give up, and 2).  Get accustomed to frustration, take it on the chin, and keep plugging away.

I’m going with #2.

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