Unmarried Parents & Child Custody

Rights Of Unmarried Parents

Under Ohio law, unmarried mothers automatically have custody of their children. Once paternity is established, unmarried fathers have equal standing to seek custody and parenting time, but they must initiate legal action to secure those rights.

How Is Paternity Established In Ohio?

In Ohio, fathers can establish paternity by completing an acknowledgment of paternity affidavit at the hospital when the child is born. If the affidavit is not recanted within 60 days, the establishment of paternity is deemed final. If the father does not execute an acknowledgement of paternity affidavit, either parent may initiate action to establish paternity through the local Child Support Enforcement Agency or the court.

How Can Fathers Obtain Child Custody And Visitation Rights?

Unmarried fathers in Ohio must go to court to establish child custody and a parenting time schedule.

Until paternity is established and the father gains child custody rights through the court, the mother is free to relocate anywhere and make all decisions about education, medical care and religious upbringing without input from the father. If paternity has not been established and the father has not registered with the Putative Father Registry, the mother may put the child up for adoption without the knowledge and consent of the father.

At the law firm of Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson in Columbus, Ohio, our attorneys are experienced in representing unmarried fathers who wish to establish custody and visitation rights, as well as in representing unmarried mothers seeking to protect their rights and interests.

Schedule A Consultation With One Of Our Attorneys

To schedule a consultation about unmarried parents and child custody with a lawyer at Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson, call 614-556-4231 or fill out the contact form on this website. Our law office is on Fifth Street in downtown Columbus.