Legal issues affecting families can vary widely, from divorce issues to child custody and adoption. One important family law matter is parentage. Under Ohio law, a man is presumed to be a child’s natural father if the man is married to the child’s mother at the time of birth (or was previously married to the mother in the 300 days preceding the birth), or if the parties tried to get married before the birth. For most other situations, there may be a need to establish paternity under the law in order for the father to have both rights and responsibilities as a parent. There are many different reasons that a person might want to establish paternity in Ohio, and our Columbus divorce lawyers want to discuss some of the most common reasons with you.
Father Wants Child Custody and Visitation
If a father wants to seek child custody or visitation in Columbus but paternity has not been established, it will be critical for the putative father to establish paternity under Ohio law. By establishing paternity, a father can seek custody and visitation, as well as any other rights as a parent. The parent-child relationship that is created through custody and visitation is also extremely important for the child’s development.
Child Support Collections
Many custodial parents also seek to establish paternity in order to collect child support. Once a mother has established a putative father’s paternity, the mother may be able to seek child support and move forward with child support collection actions in Ohio.
Medical History and Health Care
In many situations, establishing paternity is necessary for keeping a record of the child’s medical history and genetic information, and for obtaining health care for the child. A child’s family medical history can be extremely important for diagnosing certain health risk factors and planning for health care preventative measures or treatments for particular diseases or conditions. In order to ensure that the child receives the health care, she or he needs, establishing paternity through genetic testing may be necessary. In addition, if the child requires significant health care as a result of a genetic disease or condition, or for any other reason, establishing paternity also may allow the father to add the child to his medical insurance policy as a dependent.
Establishing paternity is also extremely important for the child’s identity formation and the child’s understanding of the parent-child relationship. When a man has been legally established as the father of the child, the parent-child relationship may be able to grow, and the child can gain a better understanding of his or her identity and family history.
Contact Our Columbus Family Law Attorney
If you have questions about establishing paternity, one of our experienced Columbus family lawyers can discuss your situation with you. We know how complicated and difficult these issues can be. From navigating the options for establishing paternity to understanding the legal process, our firm is here to assist you. Contact Lawrence Law Office today to learn more about the services we provide to individuals and families in and around Columbus, Ohio.