Role of the Court
In Indiana, paternity can be established in 2 ways: by both parents signing a Paternity Affidavit in accordance with the legal requirements, or by a Court issuing an order. A duty to pay a certain amount of child support can be established only by a Court issuing an order. Therefore, courts are an important part of establishing paternity and child support.

In Tippecanoe County, only Circuit Court and Superior Court 3 can issue orders establishing paternity for children born outside of marriage. Circuit Court, Superior Court, and Superior Court 2 will grant divorces. All four of those courts can issue child support orders.

Most of the cases administered by the Title IV-D Program are heard in the Juvenile Magistrate Court, which operates under the supervision of Superior Court 3. The Juvenile Magistrate Court is authorized to issue orders regarding paternity and child support in nearly all types of cases. That Court and its offices are located on the first floor of the Courthouse. The Court is presided over by The Hon. Faith Graham and is in session on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Cases that are administered by the Title IV-D Program may also be heard in Circuit, Superior, Superior 2, and Superior 3 Courts, at times set on a case-by-case basis by the judge of each court.

Contacting the Court
May people choose to hire an attorney when they are involved in a court proceeding. However, you have the right to represent yourself in court. If you choose to represent yourself, you have the right to contact the court that has authority over your case. But you are not permitted to have any one-sided (ex parte) communication with the judge. Therefore, any contact you make with the court, except at scheduled hearings, must be made in writing. Copies of your communication will be distributed to all other parties in your case.

Each court has its own rules about the format that your written communication must be in. Some courts will accept letters, while other courts will accept only formal pleadings. Many of the courts offer sample pleadings to help you prepare your communication to the court. You should contact the office of the court you wish to communicate with to find out its procedures and rules.

Court Contact Information