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Questions often come up regarding the parental rights of a father. In Ohio, the father’s parental rights of a child depend on the marital status of the parents when the child was born.

In Ohio, if a child is born during a marriage, the husband is presumed to be the father of that child. Through a divorce, dissolution, or legal separation proceeding, the Court cannot favor either parent solely based upon the gender of that parent when it comes to the legal custody and place of residence for the minor child(ren).

Although there is a presumption that the husband is the father of the child born during the marriage, either parent may challenge this presumption. He or she should contact a family law attorney immediately about how to challenge paternity.

In Ohio, if a child is born to an unmarried woman, she is considered by law to be the sole custodial parent. A father has no rights until he establishes paternity and obtains a Court Order granting him custody, shared parenting, or parenting time. There are a number of ways to establish paternity, including signing an Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit, and/or DNA Testing.

Just because paternity is established, it does not automatically mean that the father has custody or visitation rights with the minor child. The same goes for father’s who have been ordered by the Child Support Enforcement Agency to pay child support. Once paternity is established, it is necessary for the father to petition the Court for custody, shared parenting, or parenting time.

If you believe you are or may be the father of a child born out of wedlock and wish to establish your parental rights, you should contact a family law attorney immediately about the process of establishing paternity and about the process of petitioning the Court for parental rights of the minor child.