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Families in Ohio are composed of all different sizes and shapes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 43.2% of all babies born in 2018 were born to mothers who were unmarried at the time. If you are a parent who has never been married in the state of Ohio, you need to know that you have rights and obligations concerning custody.
Call us today at (614) 412-3943 so that our experienced family law attorneys can aid you in answering any questions about unmarried parents’ rights.
Differences between Unmarried & Married Parental Custody
When parents are married, the wife and the husband are each automatically given equal parental rights to their child. However, this is not the case for an unmarried biological father. In Ohio, the 3109.042 of the Ohio Revised Code declares that an unmarried mother has sole and complete rights and responsibilities to care for her child from the moment the child is born. However, an unmarried father has to prove his paternity of the child; only then can he seek rights to the child.
Proving Paternity as an Unmarried Father
There are two primary methods of gaining legal rights to your child as an unmarried father living in the state of Ohio.
If a man who has never been married desires these same parental rights, the options for obtaining these include:
- Voluntary affidavit of paternity – When both the unmarried parents agree that the man is truly the child’s father, all the man needs to do is sign a form called the “affidavit of paternity.” He should do so immediately, to avoid any future complications. The mother also gives her consent voluntarily, and the father assumes all the legal responsibilities.
- File a lawsuit to prove paternity – In the case that a dispute occurs about the father’s actual paternity, it will most likely require a lawsuit within a courtroom. Men and women both have equal rights to file for paternity in Ohio. Most likely, genetic tests will be required to check whether the child’s DNA proves the father’s paternity.
Do Not Delay in Defending Your Rights
As an unmarried father, you have just as much right and responsibility to care for your child, but you must first prove your paternity. Likewise, an unmarried mother may have concerns about the father’s rights and obligations. We have significant experience in this area at Friedman & Mirman Co., L.P.A.
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