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Establishing parental rights as a father in Ohio

Being a dad is rarely easy, especially if you are a single father. Things can get even more complicated, however, if your ex-spouse or ex-girlfriend is not allowing you time with your child.

Fortunately, you do have rights under Ohio law - although enforcing these rights may first require you to establish paternity.

Proving paternity

In Ohio, the law automatically presumes that a man is a child's father if:

  • He and the child's mother are married, and the child is born during their marriage
  • He and the child's mother were married, and the child is born within 300 days of their divorce or separation

However, if you are not married to the child's mother, there are a few other ways to establish paternity. First, you can sign an "acknowledgment of paternity", which is different from simply signing the child's birth certificate.

Second, you can file a "parentage" action in Ohio court, which is often resolved using some form of genetic/DNA testing. In many cases, the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) will help coordinate testing and will issue its own administrative determination.

Once you establish paternity, you can then seek to enforce your parental rights, including custody, visitation and parenting time. However, navigating these complex laws is often difficult, which is why it is always best to speak with an experienced attorney, whether you are seeking to establish paternity or enforce your parental rights.

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