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How to establish paternity in Ohio

There are many familial situations in Ohio. Sometimes when people have children they are married and sometimes they are not. While having a child while married or not does not change the biological parents of the child, it does have an effect on who are the legal parents of the child. There is a presumption that if a couple is married at the time the child was born, that the father is the legal father. However, if the couple is not married, there is not automatically a presumed father.

Fathers in this situation must first establish paternity in order to have any legal rights to the child. This can be done in a couple of different ways. One is by signing a legal document, signed by both parents, which acknowledges that the man is in fact the father of the child. This is a brown form and is often times signed at the hospital, but can be done later. Signing just the birth certificate is not good enough. The other way is by going through a court proceeding and submitting to genetic testing.

Establishing paternity is just the first step in the process for a father who wants to have custody or visitation with the child though. Establishing paternity is necessary, but after it is established the father must still petition the court for child custody and visitation. After the petition is filed, the parents will then go through the child custody process and at the end of it, they will either reach an agreement or have a judge decide what is in the best interests of the child.

Many children are born to parents in Ohio who are not married. Establishing who the mother of the child is normally an easy process, but it is not immediately clear who the father of the child is at birth. Therefore, fathers must establish paternity in order to have any legal rights to the child. Establishing paternity can sometimes be a difficult process, but it is essential for fathers wishing to have a relationship with their children. Experienced attorneys understand the importance of this process and may be able to guide one through it.

Source: www.ohiobar.org, "Paternity Proceeding Establishes Parent-Child Relationship" accessed on May 17, 2018

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