There are several reasons why a parent may want to establish a legally recognized child and parent relationship. For instance, an unmarried mother may wish to bring a legal paternity action to establish the biological father's responsibilities and rights in order to obtain child support. On the other hand, an unmarried father may wish to do the same in order to be granted parenting time with his child.
If a father files a request for an order to determine the allocation of parental responsibilities and rights, a copy will be forwarded by the clerk of the court to the child support enforcement agency of the county where the complaint is filed. The father can file the action in the appropriate division of the court of common pleas in the county where the child lives.
A family law attorney can discuss options for establishing a legally recognized child and parent relationship with a father who wishes to obtain parenting time. In many cases, it is possible to establish an arrangement for joint custody. In the event that the child's mother is not able to provide a safe or stable environment for the child, the father may be granted sole physical and legal custody.
There are several methods that can be used to establish paternity, including an affidavit that acknowledges paternity or DNA testing. A lawyer may be able to arrange for DNA testing if needed. Depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary to obtain a court order that requires all parties to participate in DNA testing. It is important to note that establishing paternity does not automatically confer visitation rights. A separate court order will be required for parenting time.
Source: Ohio Laws and Rules, "3111.381 Request to precede court action - jurisdiction.", October 17, 2014