Father’s Rights

When it comes to parenting, the importance of the role played by the father sometimes seems to be forgotten. Particularly when young children are involved, society seems to place greater value on the role of the mother than that of the father. Courts in Wooster, Medina, and North Canton, Ohio, are places where a father can assert his rights as a parent when conflicts exist with the mother or the mother’s family.

Ohio has laws and agencies to help establish, preserve, and enforce a father’s rights. A Medina family law attorney might be the best resource for information and guidance for an individual who believes his rights as a parent are being violated.

Establishing Paternity

The husband of a woman who gives birth is presumed to be the child’s father as long as the parents are married at the time of the birth. This presumption can be refuted through DNA testing that proves the husband is not the father, but until such proof is offered, the husband has all of the rights, privileges and obligations that the law and society offer to a father.

The situation is very different when a child is born to an unmarried woman. Until paternity is legally established, a father has no rights or obligations to the mother or to the child. There are four methods for establishing paternity in Wooster, Medina, and North Canton:

  • Marriage of the child’s parents to each other prior to birth
  • An affidavit signed by both parents acknowledging paternity
  • A court order of paternity
  • DNA testing and a finding of paternity by the Ohio Child Support Enforcement Agency

The Putative Father Registry

A father who has not legally established paternity is in danger of the mother placing the child for adoption without his being notified. This can happen if the mother does not inform the parties involved in the adoption of the identity of the putative father.

The state of Ohio operates a computerized database through the Department of Job and Family Services. A man who was not married to the mother before the birth of a child and who has not legally established paternity can register with the Putative Father Registry.

When a child is placed for adoption in Wooster, Medina, North Canton, and elsewhere in the state of Ohio, a search is run of the names in the registry to determine if there is a putative father. If the search identifies a putative father, that person is entitled to receive notification of the adoption. Under those circumstances, a person should obtain legal counsel to understand and enforce his rights regarding the child.

Registration with the Putative Father Registry can take place as soon as a man learns that a woman is pregnant and that he might be the child’s father. Registration is available for both adults and minors under 18 years of age. Failure to register could result in the child being placed for adoption following birth without the putative father having an opportunity to take legal action to prevent it.

Father’s Rights in Wooster, Medina, and North Canton, Ohio

A putative father has no rights regarding a child until he has established paternity using one of the four procedures recognized in Wooster, Medina, and North Canton, Ohio. Visitation, shared parenting or custody rights are not available until paternity has been legally established. Even after paternity is established, the burden falls upon the father to assert his rights by filing a petition with a court in Wooster, Medina, or North Canton to obtain an order for custody, visitation or shared parenting.

Section 3109.03 of the Ohio Revised Code states that couples share equal rights and responsibilities over a child born that is born during a marriage. The sharing of rights and responsibilities continues even after termination of the marriage by divorce, separation, annulment, or dissolution. For a father of a child born when the parties are not married, there must be a court order designating a parent to have residential custody of the child before courts will treat the parents are having equal parenting rights.

If a court in Wooster, Medina, or North Canton orders the payment of child support, section 3119.08 of the Ohio Revised Code states that it must also include parenting time in the order. The inclusion of parenting time does not require a motion separate and apart from the application for child support.

Consulting a Medina Family Law Attorney

For more information or representation on issues pertaining to the rights of a father in Wooster, Medina, or North Canton, Ohio, contact the Law Office of Parker & Erb, LLC at 330.725.4114.