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What Are Your Rights As a Father When Not Married?

If you are an unwed father, the first thing you should know is that it is imperative to your legal parental rights to establish the paternity of a child. Without confirmed paternity, a court will often not recognize your rights to visitation, custody, child support, or your rights to make decisions on behalf of your child. In Ohio, if you’re not married when your child is born, your child does not have a legal father. The Paternity Establishment Program focuses on ensuring children have legally recognized fathers. There are several ways to establish paternity. The simplest is to have the father’s name listed on the child’s birth certificate or for the father to complete a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit. A paternity test can be administered to confirm paternity if there is uncertainty regarding the child’s paternity.

There are many benefits to establishing paternity.

  • Identification
  • Medical history and access to health insurance
  • Support
  • Access to benefits such as social security and life insurance
  • Creates a legal relationship between the parent and the child

Once paternity has been established, an unwed father has the same rights as a married father. He is entitled to custody rights if he and the mother are raising the child separately. He is subject to paying or entitled to receive child support, depending on the custody arrangements.

A marriage certificate creates a legally binding relationship between two people. When those two people have children, the children are inherently a part of that relationship. When unmarried people have children, there is no underlying legal relationship to establish a legal relationship with the child. Therefore, the rights of unmarried fathers can often become more complicated to establish than those of a married father.

Due to the sensitive nature and complexities involved with family court proceedings, it is advisable to consult a family rights attorney in any case. The input provided by an objective and experienced attorney will help ensure the best outcome for the child.

The lawyers at Hoover Kacyon, LLC., are dedicated to supporting our clients. We deliver the highest quality legal representation from a team of professionals while also providing excellent customer service. Call us at 330-922-4491 or contact us online to make an appointment.