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Columbus Paternity Attorney

Establishing Fatherhood & Protecting Your Rights Through Our Ohio Paternity Lawyers

All children have the right to know who their father is. As a parent, you don’t want to take away that right. Paternity issues can be complex and emotionally charged. If you’re facing questions about fatherhood in Ohio, a qualified Columbus paternity attorney can offer invaluable guidance and support.  A family law attorney focuses on establishing paternity, securing child support, and protecting the rights of both fathers and children.

Quick Summary:

  • Paternity is the legal state of being a father, establishing rights and responsibilities such as child support and inheritance. In Ohio, paternity can be assumed through marriage or attempted marriage. It can also be established by signing an Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit.
  • Establishing paternity matters because it provides crucial benefits for the child, the mother, and the father. It ensures all parties involved have the opportunity to fulfill their roles and contribute to the child’s well-being. 
  • To establish paternity in Columbus, Ohio, you have three options: completing an Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit, going through genetic testing with the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA), or obtaining a court order of paternity through a juvenile or domestic relations court.

What is Paternity?

Paternity simply means “the state of being a father.” When an unmarried couple has a child, the father’s paternity must be established as soon as possible after the baby is born.

It determines who is legally recognized as the father of a child and carries certain rights and responsibilities. This can be particularly important for issues like:

  • Child Support: A legally established father is typically responsible for contributing to their child’s financial well-being.
  • Inheritance Rights: Children have the right to inherit from their biological father, and paternity establishes this legal connection.
  • Medical History: Knowing a child’s biological father can be crucial for understanding their potential medical risks and family history.
  • Visitation Rights: In some cases, established paternity can grant fathers visitation rights with their children.

What Is Assumed Paternity?

According to Ohio Revised Code 3111.03, a man is presumed to be the natural father of a child is:

  • If he and the mother were ever married, paternity is assumed if the child was born during the marriage. If the child was born within 300 days after the marriage ended, paternity is also assumed.
  • If he and the mother tried to marry before the child’s birth, but the marriage was declared invalid, paternity is assumed. This applies if the marriage ended within 300 days of the child’s birth.
  • He signs an Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit.

Why Paternity Matters?

When a child is born to unmarried parents, establishing paternity is crucial for the well-being of the child, the mother, and the father.  Here’s why:

For the Child

  • Legal Recognition and Benefits: Without established paternity, the child’s birth certificate lacks the father’s name, potentially hindering access to crucial benefits like inheritance, Social Security, and veteran’s payments.
  • Emotional Connection: Knowing both biological parents and fostering a healthy relationship is vital for a child’s emotional development and sense of identity.
  • Joint Decision-Making: Paternity allows parents to share in major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, education, and well-being.

For the Mother

  • Financial Support: Established paternity secures the father’s legal responsibility to contribute child support, easing the financial burden of raising a child.
  • Shared Responsibility: The mother gains an additional resource for childcare and practical assistance, reducing stress and promoting a more balanced parenting experience.

For the Father

  • Bonding and Support: Paternity establishes the father’s legal right to build a relationship with his child and provide them with emotional and other forms of support.
  • Tax Benefits: The father may be eligible to claim the child as a dependent, potentially lowering their tax burden.

Ultimately, establishing paternity creates a legal framework that ensures all parties involved can fulfill their roles and contribute to the child’s well-being.  If you have questions about paternity in Ohio, consulting with a qualified attorney is the best course of action.

How to Establish Paternity in Columbus, Ohio?

There are three main options for legally establishing fatherhood in Ohio:

Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit

  • This is a simple and voluntary form that both parents must complete to add the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate.
  • You can complete the affidavit at the hospital during birth, a local registrar’s office, or the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) in the mother’s county.
  • Both parents need basic identification and Social Security numbers to complete the form.
  • The father will also provide details on education, employment, and insurance.
  • Notifying witnesses isn’t mandatory, but parents must sign before a notary public (provided free at hospitals, registrars, and CSEAs).

Administrative Order of Paternity

  • This option involves genetic testing conducted by the CSEA to confirm fatherhood.
  • Unmarried parents often choose this method before establishing paternity officially.
  • To initiate the process, contact the CSEA in the mother’s county (or the father’s if she doesn’t reside in Ohio).

Court Order of Paternity

  • A juvenile or domestic relations court can issue a court order establishing paternity.
  • This option is typically used when disputes arise or the Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit isn’t applicable.

Why Do I Need a Columbus Paternity Attorney?

Facing paternity questions can be overwhelming. A Columbus paternity attorney can be an invaluable asset if you are in a paternity situation. Here’s why: 

  • Clarity and Control: Paternity issues can be confusing and emotionally charged. A Columbus paternity attorney cuts through the legalese, explains your options clearly, and empowers you to make informed decisions regarding fatherhood and your child’s future.
  • Protecting Your Rights & Benefits: Establishing paternity involves legal rights and responsibilities for fathers and children. A lawyer ensures your rights are protected, whether securing fair child support agreements, understanding inheritance rights, or navigating disputes.
  • Smooth Process & Peace of Mind: Paternity proceedings can be complex and stressful. A Columbus attorney streamlines the process, handles paperwork efficiently, and resolves issues swiftly. This minimizes your stress and allows you to focus on what matters most – your child’s well-being.

Call our  Columbus Paternity Attorney Now!

Establishing paternity can be like navigating a legal rollercoaster with solid emotions at every turn. Consulting with a Columbus paternity attorney is not just a wise choice but often a necessary one. A reasonable attorney can be a powerful ally if you need to establish or contest paternity or deal with custody and support. They’ll advocate for you through legal processes.

At Sheppard Law Offices, we understand the nuances of Ohio’s family law system and can guide you through the process with clarity and compassion. We’ll protect your rights and explain legal options. Our goal is the best outcome for you and your child.

You can count on our legal team to assist you every step of the way. We can help you with divorce and family issues, bankruptcy, tax, estate planning, and probate. 

Learn more about our proven track record and personalized attention by scheduling a free consultation today!

Sheppard Law Offices


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