Cleveland Paternity Lawyer
Fighting to establish paternity to secure parental rights or child support on behalf of a child can be a highly emotional situation. Paternity matters can quickly turn complicated and overwhelming for everyone involved. That is why it is always best to have dedicated and skilled legal representation throughout the process.
At Slater & Zurz, our Cleveland family law attorneys are committed to expertly assisting our clients in paternity actions and other family law matters, such as divorce, child custody, and child support. We are a team of dedicated and compassionate attorneys who fight hard to secure the resolution you and your child need. We work to quickly and amicably handle these matters while continually keeping the child’s best interests at the forefront.
If you need help establishing paternity or securing parenting time and custody, we are here to help. We offer a complimentary initial consultation where we will carefully review the details of your case, review your legal rights and options, and develop an effective course of action to get you the result you need.
Establishing Paternity in Cleveland Ohio
Parents may wish to establish paternity for several reasons.
A father will need to show he is the biological father in order to gain parental rights, such as legal custody and child visitation. Once paternity is shown, he can petition the court to secure the right to make important decisions on his child’s behalf and regularly spend time with his child to help facilitate a strong father-child bond.
Establishing paternity can also come into play when a man legally recognized as a child’s father learns there is reason to believe he may not be the child’s biological father. The man might seek genetic testing to either prove or disprove previously-established paternity.
Mothers may seek to establish paternity when their child’s biological father is denying paternity or is not fulfilling his parental rights and responsibilities, such as providing financial support for his child. Once paternity is established, the mother can secure a Cleveland child support order through her local domestic relations court or the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA.)
The Importance of Establishing Paternity
A strong relationship between parent and child is highly critical to a child’s health and well-being. Being properly cared for, loved, and supported by both parents gives a child a chance to grow in a nurturing, healthy environment. Establishing paternity helps ensure children and parents have the right to form or nurture a relationship, which benefits everyone involved. Below are some of the many benefits of establishing paternity.
- Father-child relationship – Legally proving paternity helps facilitate the essential father-child relationship. It allows a father to care for, love, support, and teach his child.
- Child support – A mother can seek child support once paternity has been legally established. By working with the Child Support Enforcement Agency or filing a motion with the courts, an order will be put in place, requiring the biological father to contribute to the upbringing of his child financially.
- Identity – Once the biological father has been confirmed, a child can learn more about their background and where they came from. Knowing their family history gives them a sense of belonging and a stronger understanding of who they are.
- Legal custody – Establishing paternity allows a father to seek legal custody of their child. Legal custody refers to a parental right that allows the father to make essential decisions relating to the child’s upbringing. These include decisions involving their education, medical care, and religious practices.
- Visitation or parenting time – Once a father proves he is the biological father, he can then ask the courts to grant him the right to see his child on a regular basis. Should the courts find it is in the child’s best interests, the court will establish an order detailing a regular, continual schedule of visitation, which the mother must abide by. In Ohio, grandparents can also seek visitation with their grandchild once paternity has been established.
- Health history – Determining paternity is beneficial for medical reasons. Healthcare providers need to know the health history of both parents to provide effective medical care. Knowing a father’s history of health problems or his genetic traits alerts doctors to potential or existing health issues. Legally establishing paternity also gives a child the right to social security benefits, medical insurance, life insurance, military benefits, and any future inheritance from the father.
- Access to information – Parents have the right to be notified of all important matters involving their children. These include adoption proceedings, juvenile court matters, and child custody hearings. Parents also have the right to access copies of medical and dental records, school records, documentation relating to religious practices, and other important information and records pertaining to their children.
How to Establish Paternity in Cleveland, Ohio
A father can establish paternity in one of three ways.
- Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit (JFS 07038) – The fastest and easiest way is for both parents to complete and sign an acknowledgment of paternity affidavit. This is normally done at the hospital at the time of birth but can also be done at a local health department office or with the CSEA.
- DNA testing – If paternity has not yet been determined, a mother or father can request genetic testing. DNA tests are performed by swabbing the mouth of both the child and the father or by drawing the baby and the father’s blood to check for matches in their genetic material.
- Court order – A Cleveland juvenile court or domestic relations court can establish paternity through a court order. This is generally in cases where the parents were never married or as part of a divorce proceeding.
If you are unsure which option best fits your situation, we encourage you to reach out to our leading paternity lawyers in Cleveland. We can assess your needs and determine a course of action that will quickly and effectively get you the best resolution.
Speak to an Experienced Paternity Lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio
As with any family law matter, establishing paternity and seeking parental rights, such as child custody and visitation, can be challenging These matters can very often become contentious and emotionally taxing.
Slater & Zurz is here to help. Our Cleveland paternity attorneys have been helping mothers and fathers establish paternity for over four decades. We understand how to resolve these cases effectively while always looking out for the best interests of our clients and their children.
Our attorneys work hard to quickly establish paternity and secure child custody and parenting time for the father. We also help mothers obtain much-needed financial support from the father on their child’s behalf.
When you face a paternity matter or other matter relating to child support, child custody, or divorce, experience matters. With over 150 years of collective experience, you can rest assured that you can count on Slater & Zurz. Call (440) 557-2861 or contact us online today to arrange your FREE consultation. Our team is here for you 24 hours, 7 days a week.