Located in a Safe and Convenient Northwest Suburban Location

Never Married Parents

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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?

What about other important people in the child’s life such as grandparents, siblings and other family members? A child born to unmarried parents in Ohio presents several important legal issues. Those issues are with respect to the mother, the father, and their legal rights regarding child custody, child support, visitation and other legal responsibilities.

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 866-920-1462 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


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

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.

Paternity

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.

Child Support


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.

Success Stories


The DHS 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 Us

Please contact DHS for a confidential consultation with attorney Dougherty or Hanneman or Snedaker. Each is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Specialist in Family Relations Law. They are three of only 115 attorneys in Ohio who have earned this designation as of January 1, 2013. Less than one-half (1/2) of one (1) percent of all family relations attorneys registered in Ohio has achieved this status!

DHS is located in a safe, convenient northwest Columbus suburb with free on-site parking. The building is west of the intersection of Sawmill Road and Bethel Road. (Bethel Road becomes Hayden Road west of the Sawmill Road intersection.) The offices are in the classic redbrick Northwest Law Offices Building:

  • next to Bravo! Cucina Italiana Restaurant,
  • on the north side of Hayden Road, and
  • east of Riverside Drive (State Route 33).

Then turn onto Donnylane Boulevard from Hayden Road. Then turn right into the parking lot behind the building. The main entrance is at the rear of the building.