Medina Mothers' Rights Attorney
Family Law Attorney for Mothers Seeking Child Custody and Support in Wooster and North Canton
A mother's rights in Ohio are subject to Title 31 of the Ohio Revised Code. The law is intended to protect women and their children while, at the same time, affording rights to the father of the child. Although the U.S. Supreme Court has protected the right of a parent to make decisions on behalf of a minor child, Ohio statutes allow the parents and relatives of an unmarried mother to have companionship or visitation rights with the child under certain circumstances.
Legal Custodian Under Ohio Law
Married parents of a child share equal rights in making decisions pertaining to the general welfare, education, medical care, treatment, and other aspects of the child's life. Married parents also equally share the financial responsibilities pertaining to their child.
The parental rights of an unmarried woman Ohio are protected by section 3109.042 of the Ohio Revised Code. The law makes an unmarried mother the sole residential parent and caregiver to her child. This continues until a court decides otherwise.
If paternity is legally established, and the father files a petition requesting custody, or a child support proceeding is instituted in court, an order will be made allocating parental rights and responsibilities. Once paternity has been established, the mother and father of the child have equal rights and responsibilities in much the same manner as married parents.
Companionship and Visitation Rights
Although the law in Medina, Wooster, and North Canton grants parental rights to the unmarried mother of a child, the parents or any relative of the mother have the right to file a complaint with the court of common pleas requesting an order for companionship or visitation with the child under section 3109.12 of the Ohio Revised Code. If paternity of the father has been established, the father can ask for parenting time, and the father's parents and any relatives of the father can ask the court for reasonable companionship or visitation.
Decisions made by a court pertaining to parenting time, companionship, or visitation rights must take into consideration the best interests of the child. Section 3109.051 of the Ohio Revised Code includes the following factors a judge must take into consideration in making its decision under ORC section 3109.12:
- The interaction and relationship between the child and its relatives, including the person asking for companionship or visitation.
- The geographical location of the child's residence and that of the person asking for visitation or companionship.
- The available time of the child and its parent.
- The age of the child.
- The adjustment of the child to home, community, and school.
- The wishes of the child, as disclosed to the judge in an interview in chambers.
- The child's health and safety.
- The time the child will have available to spend with siblings.
- The mental and physical health of the child and all parties involved in the case.
- The extent to which the parents and parties are willing to cooperate in facilitating parenting time or visitation.
- Whether the person asking for companionship or visitation has been convicted of crimes involving child abuse, neglect, or the commission of an abusive act toward a child.
- The wishes and concerns of the child's mother.
- Any additional factors that might help in determining the best interests of the child.
An unmarried mother of a child may file a complaint with the court asking for child support from the child's father. If paternity has not been legally established, this must occur before a court can grant the mother an order for child support.
Paternity can be legally established by an acknowledgment executed by the father and the mother of the child. It can also be established by court order following the filing of a petition and the putative father's submission to genetic testing. DNA results are conclusive in establishing paternity.
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