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As an Unmarried Father, Can I Get Shared Custody in Ohio?

As an Unmarried Father, Can I Get Shared Custody in Ohio?

In March of this year, it was reported that almost half of first babies born in the US were born to unmarried mothers.

In Ohio, when a child is born to an unmarried woman, state law grants her sole custody of the child at birth. This remains the case until the father proves paternity and is granted his rights by way of a court order, including an order designating him as a residential parent and legal custodian.

A father seeking to share the parenting of his child will need to first establish paternity. There are several options available, and you would do well to consult an experienced family lawyer if you have any questions about how to proceed. 

Completing an “Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit” form

An unmarried father can ensure that his name appears on the child’s birth certificate by signing an affidavit with the child’s mother. This is usually done at the hospital at time of the child’s birth, or later on at a local health department or child support enforcement agency.  By following this route, the parents are agreeing that they are the child’s biological and legal parents.   

Filing a court action to establish paternity

In this scenario, the court can order paternity testing without obtaining the mother’s consent. 

Undergoing DNA testing

A child support enforcement agency can seek an administrative order to establish  paternity with the mother’s consent, though this consent is not required where the agency has launched an independent child support collection action on behalf of a mother on welfare benefits.

Unless exceptional circumstances apply, a father seeking shared parenting responsibilities for their child is usually granted this by the court. In certain cases, such as where the mother is unfit to care for the child properly, the father may even be designated the child’s sole residential parent and legal custodian.  

If you are an unmarried father and wish to establish paternity, or to have more involvement in your newborn’s life, contact the sensitive and experienced Dayton child custody attorneys at Fox and Associates CO., LPA. With over 70 years of combined experience, we offer you solid advice and assistance tailored to your unique situation and needs, ensuring a successful custody outcome is reached. Call our offices today on 937-258-3668 or contact us online. 

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