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Columbus Ohio Paternity Attorneys
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There are a couple of reasons why individuals seek to establish their own or someone else’s paternity through the courts. Maybe a father is seeking to establish their relationship with a child. Maybe a mother is seeking the support of a father who isn’t sure that the child is his. Maybe a man is being told that a child is his when it really belongs to another. The dedicated Columbus paternity attorneys at the Lawrence Law Office can help in any of these situations. If you have questions about this process, consider the following information about Ohio paternity laws and how they can impact crucial aspects of your situation, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for assistance.
Paternity in Ohio: The Basics
If a child is born to a married mother, the father is presumed to be the mother’s husband. While either the mother or the father can challenge this presumption in court, the presumption nonetheless stands unless proven otherwise. However, if the mother is not married to the father the mother is considered to be the sole custodian of the child. In order to establish rights to the child, the father must establish their paternity in a court of law.
In some cases, a father can establish paternity by signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit. This presumes that the mother wants the father to establish his paternity. In other cases, the father can establish his paternity through a genetic test.
It is important to understand, however, that establishing paternity alone does not give the father custody or visitation rights to the child. Even paying child support does not entitle a father to visitation time. In order to establish these rights to the child, the father must petition the court for custody, shared parenting time, or visitation rights to the child.
Mothers Who Want to Establish a Man is the Father
In some cases, it will be the mother who will petition the court to establish that a certain man is the father. The mother may do this for the purpose of getting child support from a man who refuses to take responsibility for his child. In this case, the mother will have to initiate a paternity lawsuit against the father.
Fathers Who Want to Establish Their Parental Rights
In some cases, it’s the father who wants to establish his parental rights to a child. If the mother is on board with establishing the man as the father, then all he would have to do is voluntarily sign an affidavit establishing his paternity. If not, then the father will have to initiate a paternity lawsuit against the mother.
Initiating a Paternity Lawsuit
There are three separate agents who can bring a paternity lawsuit forward. Those are: the father, the mother, or the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). In cases where either the mother or the child is receiving assistance from the state, the CSEA may push forward to establish the paternity of the child in order to ensure that the child and the mother have the resources they need. In order to do this, the courts must establish the child’s paternity.
When the CSEA gets involved, they generally order everyone to submit to genetic testing. With the results in hand and the outcome certain, cases involving the CSEA generally do not go to court. Other times, one party may not agree with the results and the case will press forward. A judge will then decide on the paternity of the child.
Establishing Paternity with Your Girlfriend or Boyfriend
Not every couple is interested in the institution of marriage. For instance, domestic partners or those in close romantic relationships who aren’t ready for marriage or don’t want to get married may want to establish the paternity of the child. In these cases, it’s much easier. The father need only sign an affidavit establishing that he is the father of the child. Most couples will do this as it establishes the father’s legal right to the child.
Can I Recover Child Support for a Child that Wasn’t Mine?
This topic is a can of worms. Suffice it say, the time to contest a child’s paternity is not after it has been established. Once a father has voluntarily signed off on the paternity of the child, establishes a relationship with the child, and acts as the parent of the child, attempting to go after the mother for past child support is very difficult. Unless the mother can be shown to have defrauded the father in some way by presenting fake genetic proof or something along those lines, the father will likely not be able to recover child support paid to the mother and may be on the hook for continued support.
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- Child Custody
- Grandparent Rights
- Same-Sex Couples Child Custody
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Lawrence Law Office is the place to go if you need expert and experienced legal counsel. Very knowledgeable about the court system. Been around along time. I highly recommend them!Stephen