In today's world, Ohioans who have been exposed to divorce, whether by going through one themselves or seeing a family member or friend go through the process, may decide to start a life with their loved one without the institution of marriage. Though there may be benefits to being an unmarried couple, there may also be negative consequences, particularly, if one of the parties does not take action to protect him or herself.
For example, unmarried men who have a child out of wedlock may have difficulty acquiring parental rights. Often, the law presumes the mother to be the best caregiver to the child, and, absent a marriage, a court may have difficulty determining the child's father. Hopefully, the following tips will help Ohio dads take the steps necessary to ensure they have legal rights to their child.
One way to ensure parental rights is to make sure both parents' names are on the child's birth certificate. Doing so will give rise to certain rights, including visitation, custody and child support. Nonetheless, to have these rights invoked, it is best to sign a paternity affidavit, which means the father and mother legally acknowledge that the man is the father of the child.
Another helpful tip for unmarried fathers is to ensure that they play a part in the naming process. Any name can be placed on a child's birth certificate, and there is usually a timeframe under which the child can be named, meaning parents do not have to decide right away. Though the name placed on the document does not necessarily give rise to any rights. If a legal dispute regarding the child's best interests comes into play, a father can also show that he was there for the child from the beginning.
Source: FindLaw.com, "Tips for Unmarried Parents who Want to Raise Children Together," accessed on July 25, 2015