Getting to know your parental rights
Unmarried parents in Ohio do not have the same rights as those who are married. Issues regarding child support, child custody, visitation rights and the ability to make basic lifestyle choices for the child — such as those relating to where they attend school or religious education programs — are obstacles married parents simply do not face. When relationships become strained and couples decide to separate without formally establishing paternity, the mother can deny visitation rights to the father and the father can refuse to provide financial support without facing serious legal repercussions.
If parents are unmarried, the mother of the child is automatically granted sole custody. The father must be legally recognized through formal means to claim the child as his own. There are a number of ways to do this:
- The parents can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit at the hospital, an Ohio Vital Statistics office or a Child Support Enforcement Agency branch.
- A domestic relations court can issue an order for paternity testing to determine whether a parent-child relationship exists.
- A Child Support Enforcement Agency can issue an administrative order for paternity testing to determine whether a parent-child relationship exists.
There are many benefits to legally establishing paternity. Once paternity is acknowledged, both parents become financially responsible for the child. A child is able to receive Social Security benefits if their father passes away, can be put on the father's health insurance plan and may be able to receive an inheritance even if the father dies intestate. Name changes and custody rights also become possible.
How Anne helps
Anne helps mothers establish paternity, obtain child support and seek reimbursement for other expenses a father would reasonably have contributed to. She helps fathers establish paternity so they can seek custody and obtain parenting time rights even if a mother wishes to deny visitation. She can also walk you through the process of changing your child's name.
Reach out to attorney Anne Catherine Harvey
If you are looking to overcome the obstacles you face as an unmarried parent in Ohio, Anne Catherine Harvey has the experience and knowledge you need. Contact her Dayton law office online or at 937.528.1842 to set up an appointment with Anne. She serves clients in Montgomery, Greene, Warren, Clark, Miami and Preble counties, and has flexible office hours on an appointment-only basis.