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Akron Paternity and Parenting Rights Attorney

Summit County Paternity Lawyer

The legal process of establishing a parent-child relationship in Ohio is a paternity action governed by Ohio Revised Code §3111.  Once paternity is established the law imposes certain rights, privileges, duties and obligations upon the biological parents of a minor child.  The paternity attorneys at the law firm of Skidmore & Associates in Akron, Ohio represent both mothers and fathers in paternity actions. 

Representation of Mothers in Paternity Actions

paternity - father and kidsIn most cases, a paternity action is commenced by an unmarried mother of a minor child in order to establish the parental relationship of a specific male.  This is done in tandem with seeking a child support award from the biological father to financially assist in the rearing of the minor child.

Representation of Fathers in Paternity Actions

In other cases, a paternity action is initiated by a father of a minor child against the unmarried mother in order to establish paternity to obtain rights of custody or visitation. 

Who Can File a Paternity Action?

Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code §3111.04, the following individuals or entities can file an action of paternity:

  1. The child (or the child’s representative);
  2. The mother;
  3. The putative (presumed or alleged) father;
  4. The Child Support Enforcement Agency (“CSEA”) of the county in which the child resides if the mother, putative father or guardian of the child receives public assistance on behalf of the child such as Medicaid, Ohio Works First, or disability financial assistance.

What the Ways of Establishing Paternity in Ohio?

  1. Acknowledgement Form: Father completes a form entitled, “Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit”.  This form can be obtained and completed by the father at the hospital when the child is born.  This form can also be obtained at the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA).  This is the fastest and easiest way to establish paternity.
  2. Administrative Process:  Mother or father requests an administrative determination of paternity by an administrative agency (the CSEA) rather than a court.  The CSEA assigns an officer who will initially attempt to procure a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity.  If not, then the officer schedules genetic testing.  Genetic testing will establish a probability of paternity of 99% or greater wherein the CSEA will issue an order that a male is the father.  If less that 99%, an order is issued that the male is not the father. After the establishment of paternity, the CSEA will schedule an administrative child support hearing to determine the financial responsibilities of the father.
  3. Court Proceeding:  Mother or father can file a paternity action in a court that has proper jurisdiction.  In most instances, because the mother and father are not married, the proper court with jurisdiction will be the county juvenile court.  However, there are other instances where a county common pleas court (domestic relations division) or probate court would be the court with jurisdiction.  In court proceedings, the paternity action can be brought in the county where the child, mother or father resides.  Pretrial hearing is convened, genetic testing requested and trial set.  A juvenile court must make an order determining paternity within 120 days after filing the complaint.

What are the Presumptions of Paternity?

There are certain presumptions in Ohio in which paternity is presumed.  There are certain facts and circumstances that can exist, where fatherhood is presumed without proof the male is the father.  There are three primary presumptions:

  1. The man and mother are (or were) married and the child is born during or within 300 days of terminating the marriage;
  2. The man and mother attempt to marry, but the marriage is invalidated by a court and the child is born  during or within 300 days after termination or the child is born 300 days after termination of cohabitation;
  3. Acknowledgement of paternity is filed.

What Happens as a Result of a Paternity Determination?

When there is a paternity determination or acknowledgement, certain documents are provided to a health department and a new birth certificate is prepared and issued.  The original birth certificate is destroyed.

What Happens when Minor Children Become Parents of Minor Children?

Beginning in 1995, the parents of the minor parents have a statutory duty to support the baby (Ohio Revised Code §3109.19).  Simply, the grandparents become responsible to support their grandchild. 

If you are a father desiring to establish paternity to invoke child custody or visitation rights or refute an allegation of paternity, our paternity attorneys can assist you.  If you are a mother intending to establish and enforce rights of child support against the biological father of your child, our paternity lawyers can help.

Please contact an experienced and reputable Akron paternity attorney via email today at [email protected] or call 330-253-1550.  Our paternity lawyers will guide you through the paternity administrative or judicial process.