Cleveland Family Law Attorneys

Protest Highlights Definition of ‘Father’ Under Ohio Law

Protestors Advocate for Fathers’ Rights in a Divorce

A group of protesters recently staged a rally in Allen County to advocate for fathers’ rights. The group, using the slogan “Dads Against Deadbeat Systems,” says current Ohio family law is unfair to fathers because it grants full custody to mothers when couples split.

Father and child

The law makes it tough for both fathers and grandparents to secure visitation rights, protesters say, and they want the law changed so that parents have equal rights to their children unless one parent is shown to be unfit.

The protest organizer said that although there are “deadbeat dads” who fail to care for their children, the current system is biassed against fathers who want to play an active role in their children’s lives. He said it’s the system that is actually “deadbeat” in its assumptions.

While it may seem fairly clear — and easy to establish — who is and isn’t a father, Ohio law lays out a specific definition and spells out the rights, duties, and obligations that paternity entails.

What constitutes a “father” in Ohio?

In Ohio, a man can be presumed to be a child’s father in either of the following situations:

  • He is married or has been married, to the child’s mother, and the child was born during the marriage or within 300 days of the end of the marriage.
  • Before the child was born, he and the child’s mother tried to marry. In this case, the marriage potentially could be declared invalid or has been declared invalid and the child was born either during the marriage or within 300 days afterward.

Ohio fathers can voluntarily agree to the establishment of paternity. The state has set up a registry for putative fathers for this purpose. Ohio is among a number of states whose statutes provide for putative fathers to rescind or revoke their notice that they intend to claim paternity. The right to rescind the notice is limited to within 60 days after submission of a paternity claim or before a court hearing to establish paternity. After the 60-day limit, a paternity claim may not be rescinded except through a court action that’s based on duress, fraud, or an error in the facts of the case.

To register as a “putative father,” a man must submit a registration form that includes the following information:

  • Name and contact details.
  • The name of the child’s mother.
  • Social Security numbers and dates of birth for both parents.
  • The name of the hospital where the child was born.
  • Affidavits that the information is true, along with signatures.

How does the state define the parent-child relationship?

Under Ohio law, the “parent and child relationship” refers to the legal relationship between a child and the child’s parents. State law assigns certain duties, rights and obligations when a parent-child relationship exists. The relationship is defined in the same way regardless of whether the child’s parents are married.

For assistance with paternity matters, contact Laubacher & Co. today

The law isn’t always on the side of fathers who wish to play an active role in their children’s lives. The professional family law attorneys at Laubacher & Co. have experience in advocating for men whose parental rights are not being fully recognized. Laws change frequently, and conditions in your specific paternity case also can change. To speak with a family law attorney, please contact Laubacher & Co. today for a free consultation.