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Why in case of unmarried couples, the law only protects the mother and give the father no rights only obligations?

Youngstown, OH |

My finacé has a child with an ex girlfriend. She has been manipulative, doesn't let him see his son and lates thing she did was to ask him to sign his son over to adoption. She says she doesn't want his support or parenting (but she is getting the check now) She named the child after the last name of the father of her other son. My fiancé can't afford an attourney, he is getting a second job because he can't barely pay his debits and pay child support while the mother only works part time and get government supports. What can he do?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. At birth, we know who the mother is but if she isn't married, there is no proof as to who the father is. That is why there are the affidavits and DNA testing. Once we know who the father is, he has the ability to obtain his rights by filing a petition with the court. When paternity was established, he could have sought to have the name changed, as still can do such when he filed with the court to establish his rights.

    If he wants to have a relationship with the child, then he needs to file with the court to establish his rights and have court ordered time with his child.

    If he has no desire to have a relationship and wants out of the support order, then he should agree to the adoption and make sure it goes through. Once adopted, his support order terminates. He can als see if she will forgive any arrearages owed to her (but not the State) as part of the adoption.

    This answer is being provided as general advice only and is not to be relied upon for specific circumstances. By answering the question, no attorney-client relationship is created. As for any matter, it is best to seek consultation in person with an attorney who practices in the area of law in which you are inquiring.


  2. Attorney Kocsis is correct, we know who the mother is at the birth of the child. The law assumes if a woman is married when she gives birth that the husband is the father. There is no such presumption if a woman is unmarried. Thus, an unwed father has no right and no obligations at the birth of the child. The only way to gain rights or to have financial obligations is by court order.

    A filing for parental rights (custody/visitation) is done in the juvenile court of the county where the child resides. Our local juvenile courts have a packet that is available for anyone to pick up, complete and file with the court. You should check to see if one is available in your local court.

    Until and unless he files, he will not be designated the father and will have no rights to see his son. Once he does file, he should expect that the mother will file for child support if an order is not already in place. In any event, he should act sooner rather than later and at a minimum he should seek a consultation with local counsel to review his forms and get advice on the local procedures, preferences and a basic understanding of the proceeding.

    Good Luck.

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