What should unmarried fathers know about child custody?
Child custody is an often contentious issue that comes up when a married couple decides to divorce. However, this issue can also arise in cases where two people are not married. Unmarried fathers, in particular, have an interest in this matter since the mother gets automatic custody barring exceptional circumstances.
What should unmarried fathers in Ohio know about child custody?
Fathers may have to prove paternity
Before a court awards custody of a child to the father, they may ask for documentation proving that the man is, in fact, a biological parent of the child. One way to obtain this documentation is to sign an affidavit along with the mother of the child. This affidavit states that the father and the child’s mother both agree on who the child’s biological father is. However, signing such a document can be difficult to do if the parents do not get along. In these cases, taking a DNA test to prove paternity is another option.
Fathers then prove they are fit to have custody
Once the courts establish paternity, the father then has a chance to gain joint or sole custody of the child. However, fathers still have to prove that they are fit to have such a responsibility. If the father helped out with the child prior to establishing paternity or seeking custody, that could be a big boost in his favor when it comes to awarding custody.
If an unmarried father wishes to have his child in his life, it is important that he know the steps involved in obtaining custody of the child.