Does a Dad have a Chance for Custody or Shared Parenting?
The most common questions we receive from Fathers 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 parents of a child first come to court, whether in a divorce or where they were never married, the court must treat the father and mother as equals when making the custody designation. (Also see Child Custody).
Establishing Father’s Rights – Legal Presumption
Fathers do not have their rights automatically established in the same manner as a mother. Rather, Ohio law provides that a man is legally presumed to be the father of a child in two circumstances. First, a man is presumed to be the father if he and the child’s mother are married to each other at the time of birth. Otherwise, the second option requires filing an acknowledgment of paternity. It is common to complete this at the time of the child’s birth, but can be done later. Satisfying either of these options will create the legal presumption that the man is the father of the child.
Evidence of Paternity
In Ohio, a Father may prove he is the biological father and establish his 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 man’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. Once established, this presumption of paternity can only be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence that includes genetic testing.
What Are a Father’s Rights After Establishing Paternity?
Establishing Paternity does not automatically give the father rights to parenting time (Visitation), or give him authority to make decisions regarding the child. In addition, the payment of child support does not entitle the father to have parenting time with the child. Rather, a Court must make an Order stating every right and obligation involving the child including custody, visitation, and decision-making. Only then can an unmarried father have his rights established.
Father’s Rights Don’t Exist Until a Court Order Says So
In Ohio, an unmarried mother is automatically the sole residential parent and legal custodian of a child, unless a Court issues an Order changing that. This means a Court must legally recognize the man as the child’s father before he has rights to Custody, Visitation, or Decision-Making. However, once a Court determines paternity, they must treat the mother and father as equals when making a determination. With both parents on equal footing, the Father has a real chance at achieving his goals.
At the Law Office of Anthony W Greco, we provide each and every Client with professional, aggressive, and practical representation. We focus on these overarching principles while remaining sensitive to each Client’s unique concerns and goals. With more than 25 years of experience, our firm is equipped to deal with establishing and fighting for father’s rights. We have successfully fought for the rights of fathers, establishing their rights and getting them the parenting time they deserve. From the complex, emotionally charged custody case, to dealing with the “scorched earth” approach that many use against Fathers fighting for their rights, we are prepared to aggressively represent Fathers seeking to enforce their rights from the first day of representation through trial. Click Here to contact us and see what sets us apart from other firms.