Canton Paternity Lawyer

Establishing paternity or legal fatherhood can be a complicated process. Whether you are an unmarried mother seeking child support or a father hoping to be awarded parental rights, establishing paternity is usually the first step. A Canton paternity lawyer can help you understand how to establish legal fatherhood as well as your rights and responsibilities regarding the issue.

At Slater & Zurz, our attorneys have decades of experience resolving paternity issues and establishing paternity in family law cases. Paternity matters can be complex and may be contentious depending on other involved parties. Our office can provide sound legal advice about your options and how you should proceed to achieve your desired outcome.

If you would like to establish paternity in Canton, contact our office at (330) 968-2547 for a confidential consultation.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity or legal fatherhood in Canton can help in several situations. Under Ohio law, paternity can be established any time before a child turns 23 years old.

Benefits of establishing paternity:

  • For the child: Once paternity is established, the child will gain access to certain benefits from the father, including social security, military benefits, inheritances, health insurance, and life insurance. The child will also be able to obtain critical information about the father’s medical history.

  • For the mother: Establishing paternity is necessary to obtain a child support order and receive child support payments from the child’s biological father. A mother can share the financial responsibility of raising a child by establishing legal fatherhood.
  • For the father: Paternity can help a father obtain parental rights to their child, including visitation or custody. It also allows a child to create an emotional bond with the child.

To learn more about establishing fatherhood in Canton, OH, contact Slater & Zurz at (330) 968-2547 for a consultation.

Presumption of Paternity

Under limited circumstances, paternity is presumed in the state of Ohio. According to Section 3111.03 of the Ohio Revised Code, there are several situations where a man will be presumed to be the natural father unless paternity is established for the biological father.

According to Ohio law, a man will be presumed to be the natural father if:

  • He is married to the child’s mother;
  • He and the child’s mother were married at any time within 300 days of the birth;
  • Within 300 days of the child’s birth, he and the child’s mother attempted to marry, but the marriage was declared invalid by a court; or
  • An acknowledgment of paternity has been filed with the court.

Overcoming this presumption can be challenging without the help of an attorney. A Canton paternity lawyer can help you understand your rights and how to provide evidence to establish who the biological father is, even if paternity was previously presumed.

Who Should Seek Paternity

In Ohio, when a child’s parents are not married at the time of birth, the father of that child is not legally recognized unless paternity is established. Establishing paternity is vital if one or both parents want the father’s name to appear on the birth certificate. It is also essential so that both parents can share in parenting responsibilities.

Furthermore, paternity is critical in cases where a child has health issues. By establishing legal fatherhood, a child will gain access to both parents’ medical histories and, potentially, information about other genetic illnesses or conditions that may run in the family.

Finally, a mother who needs financial support to raise a child can benefit significantly by establishing paternity. Once paternity is established, a father can help to shoulder some of the financial burdens of raising a child.

If you need more information about whether you need to establish legal fatherhood for your child, contact our Canton paternity lawyers today.

How to Establish Paternity

If a child’s parents are unmarried, it may be necessary for the child’s emotional, social, and mental health and well-being for paternity to be established. Establishing paternity, however, may not be straightforward. It is generally in your best interest to consult with a Canton paternity lawyer to discuss your legal options.

In Canton, paternity can be established by:

  • Signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit
  • Genetic testing
  • Court order

While signing an affidavit is the easiest way to establish paternity, it is important to only use it in cases where fatherhood is certain. In cases where a mother is unsure of who the father is, genetic testing may need to be completed first. An affidavit is legally binding and may be challenging to overturn.

Contact our Canton paternity lawyers today if you want more information about how you can establish or challenge legal fatherhood.

Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit

An Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit (JFS 07038) is a legal form that can be signed by both parents to establish paternity if they are, or were, unmarried at the time of a child’s birth. An affidavit is the easiest way to establish paternity if paternity is not presumed.

However, if there is any doubt as to who the father is, it is likely better to go through genetic testing first. An affidavit becomes final 60 days after the date of the last signature unless someone else raises a question about paternity. To become final, the affidavit must also be properly signed by both parents, notarized, and filed with the Ohio Central Paternity Registry (CPR).

An affidavit can be filled out at the hospital during your child’s birth, or one may be requested and filed later. To discuss whether you should sign an affidavit, call our office at (330) 968-2547 to discuss your case with a Canton paternity lawyer today.

Genetic Paternity Testing

In some cases, it may be necessary to conduct genetic testing to determine who the father is and establish paternity. If there is a question, by either party, as to who the natural father is, then it is best to ask a Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) to conduct a DNA test.

Cases where genetic testing may be required:

  • Uncertainty as to who the father is;
  • Contested paternity; or
  • Where no final determination of paternity has been made.

Once all parties have submitted to the testing, the CSEA will issue an Administrative Order of Paternity (JFS 07774) based on the results. Failure to submit to genetic testing once requested through the CSEA could result in a court order.

Court-Ordered Paternity Testing

The final way to establish paternity is through a court order. A court can require paternity testing. Court orders to establish paternity are generally issued in domestic relations court as part of a divorce proceeding or in juvenile court.

Paternity and Child Support

Paternity and child support are two distinct issues; however, an unmarried woman may have to establish paternity to receive child support. Once paternity is confirmed through an affidavit, genetic testing, or court order, a mother, can seek child support from the biological father.

It is important to note that establishing paternity does not automatically mean that support will be issued. A support order must be requested through the CSEA or the court.

Paternity and Parental Rights

As with child support, paternity and parental rights are two separate matters. However, to obtain parental rights, a father may have to establish paternity if paternity is not presumed, such as when a man and woman are unmarried at the time of a child’s birth, it will need to be established to give the father legal rights.

Paternity creates a legal relationship between a father and child, allowing the father to pursue parental rights. Parental rights may include custody or visitation. Establishing paternity is particularly critical in cases where a mother withholds a child from seeing their biological father.

Hiring a Canton Paternity Lawyer

While legally, you are not required to hire an attorney to establish paternity, it is generally in your best interest. A Canton paternity lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of a paternity case and help you seek support, visitation, or custody after legal fatherhood is established.

At Slater & Zurz, our legal team has over a century of collective experience. We know how challenging paternity matters can be. We work tirelessly to provide compassionate, dedicated representation to each of our clients and will not rest until the best possible outcome is achieved.

Contact Our Office for a Confidential Consultation

Are you looking to establish paternity? Were you unmarried when your child was born and needed financial support? Are you a father seeking visitation or custody of your child? Our experienced Canton Family law attorneys can help. Contact our office today at (330) 968-2547 for a no-obligation consultation to discuss your options. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to assist you. Paternity can be a contentious, emotionally-difficult issue for all involved parties.  Let us help you protect your child. Do not try to go it alone. Whether you want to establish or challenge paternity, we are here. Do not wait; call today to get started.