There are many Ohioans who have children out of wedlock. Despite not being married at the time of conception or birth, each parent has certain rights. Some may find this surprising, as many times rights are given to biological mothers and the fathers are often left out of the picture. However, these fathers do have rights, but they may need to take action to ensure that their parental rights are protected.
One parental right that fathers have is the right to object to an adoption of their child. Yet, this right is not automatically triggered, if the child's parents are unmarried. A father must first establish paternity in a timely manner. This can happen at any time, including before a child's birth. Those who fail to establish paternity will likely be denied parental rights, and waiting too long to establish paternity could signal an unwillingness to parent the child.
In addition to establishing paternity, fathers must show that they are committed to parenting their children. This means being there for the child physically and emotionally, but many courts will also look to see if a father has provided financial support, whether in the form of child support or helping cover childbirth expenses. Fathers who do not show a commitment to parenting may be disallowed from having a say in the adoption of their child, which is irreversible.
Adoption is a life-changing decision for both the child involved as well as his or her biological parents. Far too often, though, fathers' rights are bypassed. Unfortunately, this means that fathers need to be extremely proactive in order to protect their legal rights. Those who are concerned about their rights may be able to find guidance from an experienced legal professional who will put their interests at the forefront.
Source: FindLaw, "Parental Rights: Unmarried Fathers and Adoption," accessed on Jan. 17, 2015