Father’s Rights – Does a Dad have a Chance ?
The most common question we receive from Father’s who are facing the decision of whether or not to fight for custody of their child is… “Does a Father have a real chance to get custody ?” The answer is absolutely YES ! Under Ohio law, whenever the parent’s of a child first come to court to have a custody determination made, whether in a divorce or where the parents are never married, the court shall treat the father and mother as equals when making the custody designation. (Also see Child Custody section of this website). However, when dealing with Father’s Rights issues, having an attorney on your side who has extensive experience in aggressively representing Father’s seeking Custody, Shared Parenting, Parenting Time and Decision Making Authority can be the difference in how your role as your child’s father will be defined for years to come.
Establishing Father’s Rights – Legal Presumption
The law in Ohio that deals with the issue of establishing a legal presumption of a Father’s Rights and Paternity is entitled “Presumption of Paternity.” This section of the Ohio Revised Code provides that a man is legally presumed to be the father of the child when: (1) The man and the child’s mother are or have been married to each other, and the child is born during the marriage OR is born within three hundred days after the marriage is terminated or after the man and the child’s mother separate pursuant to a separation agreement; (2) An acknowledgment of paternity has been properly filed. This is commonly done at the time of the child’s birth, but can be done later at a local registrar or Child Support Enforcement Agency. The mother’s consent is required, and the father is foregoing the option to have DNA testing. To see O.R.C. 3111.03 in full see the link here.
Father’s Rights – Evidence of Paternity
Under Ohio Law, a Father may prove that he is the biological father of a child and establish his father’s rights by proving: (A) Evidence of sexual intercourse between the mother and alleged father at any possible time of conception; (B) An expert’s opinion concerning the statistical probability of the alleged father’s paternity; (C) Genetic test results (DNA); (D) Medical evidence relating to the alleged father’s paternity of the child; and (E) All other relevant evidence. It is important to note that this legal presumption of paternity can only be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence that includes the results of genetic testing. To read O.R.C. 3111.10 in full see link here.
What Are a Father’s Rights After Establishing Paternity
The establishment of Paternity does not automatically give the father any legal rights to parenting time (Visitation) with the child, or give him any authority to make decisions regarding the child in any way. In addition, the payment of child support through CSEA does not legally entitle the father to have any parenting time (visitation) with the child. A Court must make an formal Order stating each and every right and obligation involving the child including custody, visitation, decision making authority, health insurance, income tax exemption, and all other issues related to the child. Only then can a father of a child who was not married to the mother have his father’s rights established.
Father’s Rights Don’t Exist Until a Court Order Says So
Under Ohio law, an unmarried female who gives birth to a child is automatically the sole residential parent and legal custodian of the child, unless or until a Court issues an Order designating another person as the residential parent and legal custodian. This means that until a Court legally “recognizes” the unmarried father as the child’s father, the father has no legally enforceable rights to Custody, Visitation, Decision Making Authority, etc… However, once Parentage is properly determined, a Court designating the residential parent and legal custodian of a child, is required to treat the mother and father as standing upon equal ground when addressing the issue of what is in the child’s “Best Interests”. (Also see Child Custody Section of the Website for additional information on Custody). The Law Office of Anthony W. Greco is committed to providing each and every Client with professional, aggressive and practical representation, while being sensitive to the Client’s unique concerns and goals. With more than 23 years of experience, our firm is equipped to deal with all issues involved in establishing and fighting for father’s rights. From the complex, emotionally charged custody case, to dealing with the “scorched earth” approach that many use against Father’s fighting for their rights, The Law Office of Anthony W. Greco is prepared to aggressively represent its Father’s Rights clients from the first day of representation through trial.