What happens when we have children, are not married and break up?
- If I have someone's baby can I ask him to help with the costs of having a child and supporting it?
- If I am the father of a child, and I want to be able to help raise my child and play an important role in their life, how do I protect my rights?
This process usually must begin with the establishment of "paternity" - the legal designation of the father of a child. If both parents are in agreement and want to establish legal paternity for their baby they can complete a form at the hospital known as an "Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit". This form may also be filed with an appropriate Ohio Vital Statistics Office, or with a designated Ohio Child Support Enforcement Agency.What happens if there is disagreement over the issue of paternity? How do I protect my own legal rights and the rights of my child?Contact experienced Columbus Ohio attorneys who have a proven track record protecting the rights of unmarried mothers and fathers or call 614-932-5000 today!
Rights of Never Married Parents
The mother is automatically vested with sole custody of any child born to unmarried parents in the state of Ohio. The father has no rights over the minor child until a court of law establishes such rights.
Mothers have sole custody of any child born to never married parents. As sole custodian, mothers have full legal control and decision-making responsibility for the minor child. As sole custodian, mothers may seek:
- To establish paternity for the child
- Child support from the father
- Reimbursement of pregnancy and birth expenses from the father
Fathers have no rights over the minor children until a court establishes such rights. Fathers may seek to establish paternity for the child and seek custody and parenting time rights (visitation). Fathers may establish custody and parenting-time rights by filing an action in the juvenile court.Until such time that the court issues an order, the father has no custody or parenting-time rights with the minor child. However, fathers may make decisions regarding the child and exercise parenting time with the agreement or consent of the mother.
Parents may establish paternity by using one of three different methods in the state of Ohio:
- Acknowledgment of Paternity - Parents may jointly sign an acknowledgment of paternity affidavit. Typically, this document is signed at the hospital following the child's birth. This form becomes final 60 days after its signing.
- Paternity Testing through CSEA - Either parent may request paternity testing through the local child support enforcement agency (CSEA). If the paternity test is more than 99% positive, the father shall be deemed the legal father of the minor child pursuant to an administrative order of paternity.
- Paternity Case through Juvenile Court - Either parent may file an action through the juvenile court. The court will order paternity testing unless the parties agree to paternity.
Change Child's Name
Once paternity is established, the parents may seek to change the child's last name to the father's last name, the mother's last name or a variation of both last names. If the parties agree upon the child's last name, they may seek to change it by filing an action in juvenile or probate court.
Establish Custody and Parenting Time Rights
The father may request custody and parenting time, also called visitation, by filing an action with the juvenile court. The court will award custody and parenting time based on the best interest of the minor child. The court may also address other issues such as child support, health insurance, division of uncovered health expenses, division of tax dependency exemptions, and the child's name within the same court case.
Parents may establish child support by using one of three different methods in the state of Ohio:
- Administrative Case through CSEA - Either parent may request child support by filing a request through the local child support enforcement agency (CSEA).
- Court Case through Juvenile Court - Either parent may request child support by filing an action with the juvenile court.
- Back child support to date of birth - Either parent may request back child support from the date of the child's birth to the present by filing an action with the juvenile court.
The DHP law firm attorneys have produced successful outcomes for many family law clients. Please click here to read about success stories that reflect various family law issues. Perhaps you will see your marital issues reflected in one or more of these brief stories.
Contact DHP for a free confidential consultation with one of our attorneys. We can give you information about your specific rights and options. Our firm has 4 attorneys who are Certified Specialists in Family Relations Law. No other law firm in Central Ohio has more Certified Specialists. Fewer than 1% of all attorneys in Ohio have earned the Certified Specialist designation.
DHP is located in a safe and convenient suburban location with free on-site parking. We are located within minutes of Upper Arlington, Hilliard, Dublin, Worthington, and Northwest Columbus.
- 3010 Hayden Road
- Next to Bravo restaurant
From Hayden Road, turn onto Donnylane Boulevard. Turn right at the first driveway. The main entrance to our building is adjacent to the parking lot.