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Protecting Father's Rights In Ohio.

Understanding your rights as a father is essential in custody matters. Hiring the right attorney can make a difference in ensuring that you receive custody in your matter.

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Understanding Rights Of Fathers In Ohio.

In cases where a child is born to unmarried parents, the legal treatment of mothers and fathers differs significantly. The identification of the mother is typically straightforward, evidenced by the birth process and the names on the birth certificate. However, for fathers, the situation is more complex. Merely believing or asserting paternity is insufficient for legal recognition. Without legal acknowledgment, fathers lack the rights and responsibilities associated with parenthood.


This lack of legal recognition can also deprive the child of a meaningful relationship with their father. In cases where paternity is not legally established, a mother may withhold the child from the father. The U.S. Supreme Court affirms the fundamental right of parents to care for their children, but for fathers, this often requires additional steps.

Proving Custody As A Father In Ohio.

Establishing your legal right to your child varies significantly based on whether you were married to the mother at the child's birth. In some situations, the law may presume you to be the father. This presumption is based on certain actions by you and the mother, and it stands unless there is substantial evidence to the contrary. Whether you are legally presumed to be the father or need to establish paternity through other means, this process is crucial for asserting your parental rights.

In Ohio, the law automatically presumes a man to be the legal father of a child if he was married to the mother at the time of the child's birth. This presumption also extends to children born within 300 days following the end of the marriage, whether the marriage ended through divorce, legal separation, or the father's death. In these cases, paternity is established by the mere fact of the marriage, requiring no additional actions from either parent.

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Affidavit of Acknowledgement

If you and the child’s mother are not married, it is still possible to become the legal father without hassle. If you accompany the mother to the hospital and you both agree that you’re the father, you can both sign and file an acknowledgment of paternity with the Child Support Enforcement Agency. This document is a notarized affidavit, making it a sworn statement in the eyes of the law. Like in marriage, the law presumes that the man who signed an affidavit acknowledging paternity is the child’s father. Better yet, the mother also signed the document agreeing that the man’s signature belongs to the child’s father. By signing, you agree to take on all the rights and responsibilities associated with parenthood.

If a father faces challenges in establishing paternity, he can file a petition with the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). This process involves genetic testing, and if the results show at least a 99% match, the agency will issue a paternity order. This order identifies the parents and sets out child support obligations. However, it typically does not cover parenting time or custody, which can still leave fathers struggling to secure time with their children.


Obtaining such an order can facilitate future efforts to gain visitation rights, especially if the mother continues to withhold the child. Despite the CSEA's authority, some mothers may not participate in the proceedings or adhere to the order. In these cases, the father's next step is to seek a court order establishing parentage. This process is more comprehensive and may involve genetic testing, but it can lead to a more definitive custody and parenting arrangement.

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Genetic Testing

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Divorced Fathers

If you are facing a divorce and have a child born during your marriage, Ohio law ensures that you and your spouse are treated equally in court, as both of you are recognized as the child's legal parents. It is important to note that this equal legal status does not automatically translate to joint custody or equal time with your child post-divorce. For fathers, a significant aspect of this is that divorce eliminates the need to establish paternity, as the law already acknowledges both parents' legal relationship with the child.

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Determining Custody

Ohio custody laws guide judges by providing 'best interest factors' to ensure each decision serves the child's welfare. These factors include:

  • The parents' preferences for child care.

  • The child's relationships with parents, siblings, and others who may influence their well-being.

  • The child's adjustment to home, school, and community.

  • The mental and physical health of all family members.

  • Each parent's commitment to respecting court-ordered parenting time.

  • Compliance with child support obligations.

  • Criminal history related to sex offenses, child-related crimes, or violence within the household.

  • Past behavior regarding adherence to parenting agreements.

  • Potential out-of-state relocation plans by a parent.​

Children's preferences are also taken into account, especially if a judge conducts an interview, which depends on the child's age and maturity.

Jesse E. Scott

Your Fighter For Your Legal Matter.

Understanding your rights as a father can be difficult and even confusing. With our representation, you’ll have access to knowledge and professional services that will help you understand your rights and help you fight your matter.

3 Steps To Fight Your Matter.

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Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation to determine the specific needs of your case.

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After the initial consultation, we will work to develop an in-depth strategy to assist in achieving optimal results for your case.

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From the first meeting to the close of your matter, enjoy the comfort of knowing that a proven professional is in your corner, fighting for your rights.

Important Disclaimer

The information that you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls and emails. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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