The Rights of Unmarried Parents - Ohio

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Definitions

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 3111.01; 3111.03; 3107.01

The term 'parent and child relationship' means the legal relationship that exists between a child and the child's parents and upon which the law confers or imposes rights, privileges, duties, and obligations. The parent and child relationship includes the mother and child relationship and the father and child relationship. The parent and child relationship extends equally to all children and all parents, regardless of the marital status of the parents.

A person is presumed to be the natural other parent of a child under any of the following circumstances:

  • The child's parents are or have been married to each other, and the child is born during the marriage or is born within 300 days after the marriage is terminated.
  • The child's parents attempted, before the child's birth, to marry each other, the marriage is or could be declared invalid, and either of the following applies:
    • The marriage can only be declared invalid by a court, and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after the termination of the marriage.
    • The attempted marriage is invalid without a court order, and the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation.
  • An acknowledgment of parentage has been filed pursuant to § 3111.23.

The term 'putative father' means a person, including one under age 18, who may be a child's other parent and to whom all the following apply:

  • The person is not married to the child's mother at the time of the child's conception or birth.
  • The person has not adopted the child.
  • The person has not been determined, prior to the date a petition to adopt the child is filed, to have a parent and child relationship with the child by a court proceeding or an administrative agency proceeding.
  • The person has not acknowledged parentage of the child pursuant to §§ 3111.21 to 3111.35.

Use of Parentage Registries

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 3107.061; 3107.062

A person who has sexual intercourse with another person is on notice that if a child is born as a result and the person is the putative other parent, the child may be adopted without their consent pursuant to § 3107.07.

The Department of Job and Family Services shall establish a putative father registry. A putative other parent may register before or no later than 15 days after the birth of the child.

Alternate Means to Establish Parentage

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 3111.02; 3111.31; 3111.09; 3111.10

The parent and child relationship between a child and the natural other parent of the child may be established by an acknowledgment of parentage.

The department shall prepare an acknowledgment of parentage affidavit that includes in boldface type at the top of the affidavit the rights and responsibilities of and the due process safeguards afforded to a person who acknowledges that they are the natural other parent of a child.

The court upon its own motion may order and, upon the motion of any party to the action, shall order the child's birth parent, the child, the alleged other parent, and any other person who is a defendant in the action to submit to genetic tests. If the court finds that the conclusions of all the examiners are that the alleged other parent is not the genetic parent of the child, the court shall enter judgment that the alleged other parent is not the genetic parent of the child. If the examiners disagree in their findings or conclusions, the court shall determine the legal parent of the child based upon all the evidence.

Evidence relating to parentage may include the following:

  • Evidence of sexual intercourse between the birth parent and alleged other parent at any possible time of conception
  • An expert's opinion concerning the statistical probability of the alleged other parent's parentage, which opinion is based upon the duration of the birth parent's pregnancy
  • Genetic test results, weighted in accordance with evidence, if available, of the statistical probability of the alleged other parent's parentage
  • Medical evidence relating to the alleged other parent's parentage of the child based on tests performed by experts
  • All other evidence relevant to the issue of parentage of the child

Required Information

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 3107.062; 3111.31

To register in the putative father registry, a putative other parent must complete a registration form and submit it to the department. The registration form shall include the following:

  • The putative other parent's name
  • The name of the birth parent of the person the person claims as their child
  • The address or telephone number at which they wish to receive any petition that may be filed to adopt the child

On receipt of a completed registration form, the department shall indicate on the form the date of receipt and file it in the putative father registry.

The affidavit for acknowledgment of parentage shall include all the following:

  • The full name, Social Security number, date of birth, and address of each parent
  • The full name, date of birth, and the residence of the child
  • An affirmation by the birth parent that the information they supplied is true to the best of their knowledge and belief and that they are the birth parent of the child named on the form and they assume the parental duty of support of the child
  • An affirmation by the other parent that the information they supplied is true to the best of their knowledge and belief, that they have received information regarding their legal rights and responsibilities, that they consent to the jurisdiction of the courts of this State, and that they are the natural other parent of the child named on the form and they assume the parental duty of support of the child
  • The signatures of the birth parent of the child, the natural other parent, and the notary public
  • Any other evidence necessary to complete the new birth record that is required by the department by rule

Revocation of Claim to Parentage

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 3111.27; 3111.28

For an acknowledgment of parentage to be rescinded, both of the following must occur:

  • No later than 60 days after the date of the latest signature on the acknowledgment, one of the persons who signed it must do both of the following:
    • Request a determination under § 3111.38 of whether there is a parent and child relationship between the person who signed the acknowledgment and the child who is the subject of it
    • Give the office written notice of having complied with the requirements of this section and include in the notice the name of the child support enforcement agency conducting genetic tests to determine whether there is a parent and child relationship
  • An order must be issued under § 3111.46 determining whether there is a parent and child relationship between the person and the child.

If the office verifies compliance, and the notice was sent within the time limit required by this section, the office shall note in its records the date the notice was received and that the acknowledgment to which the notice pertains is subject to rescission.

After an acknowledgment becomes final, a person presumed to be the other parent of the child who did not sign the acknowledgment, either person who signed the acknowledgment, or a guardian or legal custodian of the child may bring an action to rescind the acknowledgment on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact. An action pursuant to the section shall be brought no later than 1 year after the acknowledgment becomes final.

Access to Information

Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.063

An attorney arranging a minor's adoption, a birth parent, a public children services agency, a private noncustodial agency, or a private child-placing agency may request at any time that the department search the putative father registry to determine whether a person is registered as the minor's putative other parent. The request shall include the birth parent's name. On receipt of the request, the department shall search the registry. If the department determines that a person is registered as the minor's putative other parent, it shall provide the attorney, birth parent, or agency with a certified copy of the person's registration form. If the department determines that no person is registered as the minor's putative other parent, it shall provide the attorney, birth parent, or agency with a certified written statement to that effect.

If the department provides a certified copy of a putative other parent's registration form to an attorney, birth parent, or agency, the department also shall provide a written notice to the putative other parent informing them of the following:

  • That they may be the other parent of the minor they claim as their child on the registration form
  • That the minor is being or may be placed for adoption
  • Of their right to consent or refuse to consent to the minor's adoption