Paternity Lawyers in Lucas County
Establishing Parental Rights for Unmarried Parents in Ohio
Do you need help establishing paternity, asserting your parental rights, or negotiating a parenting agreement with your child’s other parent? At Smith & Smith Law Office, LLC, our Lucas County paternity lawyers can explain your legal rights and help you navigate the process. Our law firm is devoted exclusively to the practice of family law. We provide compassionate legal representation to help families find solutions to complex and challenging situations.
Parental Rights in Ohio
Unwed fathers do not automatically enjoy the same parental rights as a father who is married to the mother of his children. Unfortunately, living together is not enough to establish parental rights.
In Ohio, unwed mothers are automatically the residential and legal custodians of their children. The father of a child born to an unwed mother has no parental rights until he establishes paternity and files a complaint in juvenile court for custody, parental time, or shared parenting.
When parents are married at the time of a child’s birth, the father is automatically presumed to be the father. This is not true for unmarried couples, regardless of how long they have lived together. For an unwed father to have parental rights, paternity must first be established. Establishing paternity offers benefits to both parents and children.
Legally recognized paternity allows fathers to enjoy parental rights and be part of their children’s lives. Mothers benefit by having a co-parent to help shoulder the responsibilities of parenthood. When paternity is legally established, children enjoy the many benefits of having their fathers in their lives, as well as inheritance rights.
There are three ways to establish paternity in Ohio:
- Completing an Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit – Both parents can sign this affidavit to have the father’s name added to the birth certificate, either when the child is born or later
- DNA testing – Parents may request this testing or it may be required by a child support enforcement agency
- Court-ordered paternity – Juvenile Court or Domestic Relations Court may establish paternity
To complete the Acknowledgement of Paternity affidavit, the parents will need to have a picture ID and Social Security card. The form asks for information about each parent’s full name, address, place of birth, date of birth, and Social Security number. Fathers must also provide information about the highest level of education completed, employment, and insurance. The form must be notarized and signed in the presence of a notary.
Negotiating Parenting Agreements
Establishing paternity and navigating a parental agreement after a relationship ends can be complicated and emotional. Our Lucas County paternity lawyers are knowledgeable about Ohio family law and have one simple mission: to help good people through hard times. We offer a full range of family law services to help you with establishing paternity and navigating the process of creating a parenting agreement that meets the needs of both parents and the best interests of the child.
She was an amazing lawyer She Answered every question I had. Delivered excellency service and even helped me get everything I needed. If I ever have another problem I know who I am going to call!- Gary R.
Christine is a life saver. She took what I thought was the end of my life and the system screwing me over to giving me my life back. She is my forever lawyer. Can not thank her enough- Joshua R.
If you’re looking for representation who is professional and thorough, this is the place. Christine’s knowledge is outstanding, she is someone who is compassionate and caring for all her clients! She took the time in listening to all my needs and trust her 100% of the way. If you’re ever stuck in a difficult situation for child support and child custody, she’s the person you want on your side helping you fight the battle.- Former Client
I spoke with Christine today regarding my divorce case that my previous attorney mishandled. After talking to over a dozen lawyers to try to find someone to help combat the mess I'm in, Christine was confident, had some great strategies of how we could fight this and really made me feel hope again. I am looking forward to working with her, I feel she will do a very good job handling my case and will fight for me.- Amanda B.
Christine has been absolutely amazing to work with in an especially difficult time. I am thankful for her knowledge and experience! I would highly recommend her!- Maggie W.
She is amazing. I went to her with a super complex case and she got me exactly what I wanted. Definitely changed my life for the better.- Gregory R.
Being new to Toledo and new to any kind of court issues, I was super nervous about getting a lawyer and finding someone I could trust. From the very first call I was sold. Misty and Christine both were extremely friendly, caring and even more important, upfront about what to expect. They didn't push me to make any decisions I wasnt comfortable with. I didn't have to sacrifice my life savings and they made things so easy for me (and actually even my now exhusband as well). I feel like if I had needed anything more than I did, they would have continued to go above and beyond. Truly trustworthy and honest. If you need someone in your corner this is the place go to. Thank you for helping me gain my freedom back!- Princess Arielle
Amazing family-owned business, if you need a family lawyer this is who you call. Thank you so much for going above and beyond.