Father getting full custodyDo father rights Ohio exist?

The answer to this question is yes but there are legal steps that a man must follow in order to have access to his children. It is possible for a father getting full custody or gaining visitation rights when you follow the rules of the courts in the state.

Read this guide so that you understand custody and visitation rights for fathers in Ohio.

What Rights Does an Unmarried Father Have in Ohio?

If you are a father and you have had a child outside of marriage, you are not going to automatically have any parental rights. While this might apply to the mother, this is not the case for dads and you’ll need to go through some steps before you are entitled to see (or get custody of) your child.

Namely, the most important thing a father has to do is establish paternity. In other words, you have to prove that you are the biological father of the child. Without being married, this is not something that is automatically assumed.

Before this is done, the mother is going to have full custody. Even if a father is paying child support, which is an obligation in Ohio, he will have to establish paternity and petition for visitation and having rights.

How Does a Father Establish Paternity?

If you are married in Ohio, you will automatically be presumed as the father of a child. In other words, you will not have to prove this aspect of the relationship if you were to get divorced and wanted visitation rights or custody. However, unmarried fathers rights in Ohio are different. Namely, there is none until you establish paternity.

There are several ways that a man can prove he is the dad and to be legally recognized as the father. First of all, he can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity when the child is first born. This is something that can be done at the hospital, but you can also prepare the document in advance.

Alternatively, you can file an Acknowledgement of Paternity. This is something that can be done after the child is born and you can do it at the local health department or Child Support Enforcement Agency in your county.

Dna testThe last option is to file a complaint in the Juvenile Court. This is something that can be done after the child is born and is often the last resort. A complaint will allow a judge to look at your case and establish paternity. You can take a DNA test to support your case. Then, it can go further and grant parental rights for a father.

Can an Unmarried Father Get Visitation or Custody Rights?

Yes, an unmarried father can get visitation time or custody, but this is not automatic. Establishing paternity is the first vital step for any unmarried father. However, it is important to realize that this does not mean you automatically have visitation or custody rights. Simply, all establishing paternity does is show that you are the legal father to the child.

You are going to still have to file for custody and visitation rights in order to take care or visit a child. This is something that must go through a court in the state you live and a judge must look at your case. If you are able to get custody or are granted visitation, a judge will sign a court order to allow this.

What Is an Agreed Parenting Plan?

An Agreed Parenting Plan is going to detail all of your plans, including what the custody rights of the child are going to be, as well as any visitation rights. Once this paperwork has been submitted and approved by a judge, it will become legally enforceable. This means that an unmarried father can take the mother to court if she does not follow the plan.

It is always the hope that a mother and father can split amicably and put the child first. In other words, when the couple decide to go their separate ways, it is best to try to outline custody and visitation for the child. This is going to avoid having to go through any legal action and creating bitterness between parents.

If you are able to come to an agreement with your former parent, it is best to complete an Agreed Parenting Plan. This is going to put down all of your plans into writing and ensure that it is going to stick for the future. You are able to do this by preparing the necessary paperwork that is made by an attorney. Then, you can file this with a juvenile court in your area.

How Can a Father Get Full Custody in Ohio? 

A father can get full custody in Ohio in different ways, but the easiest way is if this is decided by both parents and stated in the Agreed Parenting Plan. Otherwise, if a couple are unmarried and have a child in Ohio, the mother will automatically gain full custody of that child. In alternative, attributing full custody to the father can be a decision made by the family court judge.

A court is going to put the best interests of a child first. They want to ensure that the child will be properly supported and given the security they need. In some instances, the wishes of the child may be taken into consideration. But, this is not something that is going to hold more weight than other factors.

There are certain factors that can prevent either parent from gaining full custody in Ohio. Namely, these are going to be situations where the safety and security of a child may be in threat. For example, if a parent is known for substance abuse, this is not going to work well for full custody.

In addition, a judge is going to look at felony convictions and any signs of neglect or abuse charges. If you have prior instances of these, this is not going to work in your favor. It may not stop you from gaining custody in Ohio, but it can certainly make your situation more difficult.

Can a Father Receive Child Support?

Yes. If a father has full custody of a child, they are also able to receive child support. In Ohio, there is not only one gender that receives child support and it is something that is available to the main caregiver of a child, which is referred to as the primary custodial parent.

The purpose of child support is to receive regular financial payments. The mother can give these payments to the father and they can be used for anything like clothing and shelter, as well as tuition, and food. Thus, child support is used for anything that involves caring for the child.

What Will Happen When Child Support Is Not Paid?

If you don’t pay child support you can be found guilty of contempt of court. There are many sanctions that a judge can choose from. This can include the suspension of your driver’s license or even being sent to prison and facing criminal charges.

It is always important for parents to take their child support responsibilities seriously. It does not matter whether it is the mother or father paying out the child support, there can be consequences for not paying it on time. Since this is something that is agreed upon, it means that a failure to pay can lead to contempt of court.


Father rights ohioAs you can see, there is a lot to learn about unmarried father’s rights in Ohio.

So, let’s summarize everything we have learned so that you will know what to do if you are ever in this position:

  • Married father’s rights in Ohio are different and you have more automatically available to you in regards to custody and visitation rights.
  • Unmarried fathers must establish paternity to prove they are the biological father of the child.
  • Paying child support does not count for establishing paternity.
  • An Acknowledgement of Paternity can be created when the child is born and at the hospital.
  • You can File an Acknowledgement of Paternity after the birth and at the local health department or Child Support Enforcement Agency.
  • You can establish paternity through a complaint in the juvenile court, which can include a DNA test.
  • You must file for custody and visitation rights in order to see a child in Ohio custody laws.
  • An agreed parenting plan is an amicable way to see a child and can be created between two parents.
  • It is possible for a father to get full custody of a child through a family court judgement.
  • The best interests of a child are put first by a judge and it will be what is best for their safety and security.
  • A parent that has had problems in the past, including felony convictions, will have trouble gaining full custody.
  • Fathers can receive child support to look after kids and purchase everyday items and pay expenses.
  • Someone can be found guilty of contempt of court if they do not pay their share of child support.

An unmarried father will have to follow the rules in Ohio if they want to see their children. But, when they do this, they are going to be able to spend time with their kids, no matter what has happened with the mother.

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