Assistance With Paternity Cases for Residents of Butler and Warren Counties
Beyond the emotional effect on your relationship with your child, formally establishing paternity is also financially and legally significant. Garretson & Holcomb, LLC can help you navigate any paternity procedures, from document filing to full trial advocacy.
When an unmarried Ohio woman gives birth, she has sole legal custody of the child until paternity is established. Ohio family law doesn’t recognize the legal status of a child’s biological father until the couple establishes paternity. Failure to establish paternity can lead to consequences for the child, including denial of Social Security or veterans’ benefits from the father.
Establishing Paternity by Affidavit
Aside from marriage, Ohio parents can establish paternity in one of two ways: sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity affidavit, or have paternity decided in court via a paternity lawsuit. An Acknowledgment of Paternity affidavit can be signed anytime after the child’s birth, and unmarried couples often choose to sign the affidavit at the hospital or birthing center.
The affidavit can also be signed later at your local Registrar’s Office or your local Child Support Enforcement Agency.
The affidavit legally certifies that the man signing is the biological and legal father of the child, and that his name should be added to the birth certificate. It also potentially commits the father to paying child support, providing health insurance for the child, and acknowledging that the child has inheritance rights from the father.
Establishing Paternity by Lawsuit
In Ohio, a paternity lawsuit can be brought to court by either parent. If the parents take their dispute to court, the judge decides whether the alleged father is the baby’s legal and biological father, often via genetic testing. The court can also order the payment of financial obligations (child and medical support) and decide on matters of custody, visitation, and residency for the child.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity
Establishing paternity can help strengthen a loving, longstanding bond between a child and both of their parents. It can also clarify medical histories and qualify the child for certain forms of health care and government assistance. When paternity is established each parent can share the expense and responsibilities associated with parenthood.