The Domestic Relations Court will allocate parental rights and responsibilities in accordance with the best interest of the child. The best interest determination is a fact sensitive analysis. O.R.C. 3109.04 outlines ten factors in determining best interest. However, there are an unlimited amount of factors the court may consider and this is what makes the fact sensitive analysis vary case by case.
Ohio law states that a court may allocate parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the child to both parents and issue a shared parenting order requiring the parents to share the aspects of physical and legal care in accordance with the shared parenting plan. In a shared parenting plan both parents will have the distinction of legal custodian. That being said, one parent will have the distinction of residential parent for school purposes only. Shared parenting is appropriate where both parties can communicate well enough to jointly act in the best interest of their minor child(ren).
It is important to note that shared parenting does not mean equal parting time. It is merely the distinction which affords both parents the opportunity to act as co-legal custodians.
The court may deem one parent to be the sole legal custodian and residential parent if it is in the best interest of the child. This is common when the parents cannot communicate pertaining to the upbringing of the minor child(ren) or there is an aspect which renders the other party unfit. The non-residential parent will still enjoy parental rights, such as parenting time, access to professionals and records, and be allowed to participate in other activities involving the child(ren).
Child support is a payment of money from one parent to the other to help support the parties’ child(ren). The amount of support is calculated by a formula as set forth by the O.R.C. and Ohio law. This formula takes into account the number of children, gross income of the parties, cost of health insurance and health care, other support payments made (spousal support or other child support orders) and other out of pocket expenses. Further, the court can consider any or all deviation factors as outlined in O.R.C. 3119.23 to modify the amount of the support.
If you are a married father, you are presumed to be the biological and legal father of the child born. However, this is not the case if the child was born outside of the marriage. In order to establish paternity, the Father will have to establish paternity through the Court and will likely have to take a DNA test. Once paternity is established, the father will gain parental rights and responsibilities through a court order.
Unmarried fathers have no legal rights unless/until they actively assert them. Under O.R.C. 3107.061, a man who has sexual intercourse with a woman is on notice that if a child is porn as a result and the man is the putative father, the child may be adopted without his consent. It is the father’s responsibility to know the law and fill out the required documents for the putative father registry, which is maintained by the Ohio Job and Family Services.
The unmarried father must register with said registry within fifteen days of the child’s birth. An unmarried father will lose these rights forever if he does not assert them in a timely fashion.
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