I have an 8 year old daughter and she hasn't seen or heard from her biological father since she was almost 2. Paternity wasn't established, so he isn't on her birth certificate or paying child support. I don't know where her biological father resides nor do I have his contact information. Is there anything that can be done, where I can legally say that I am the only parent taking care of my daughter, making it easier if I get married and my husband would like to adopt her or if I would like to get her a passport, so we can travel outside of the United States.
By virtue of your daughter's birth to non-married persons, that makes you legal custodian. Her Father would have to file for parenting time should he desire some.
Adoption is a probate matter, and when the time would come for any future husband to adopt her, then I suggest seeking a meeting with a probate attorney at that time. Likely you will have to serve the alleged father with any documents that you file in any adoption matter.
Since paternity wasn't established, and I presume that you were never married, under Ohio law you are the sole residential parent and legal custodian of your child. So essentially you are already the only parent/guardian of the child. When it comes to adoption, there are provisions for adoption where you would not need to notify the biological father. You should discuss this issue with an adoption attorney when that time comes. As far as a passport, since there is no father listed on the birth certificate the Passport agency would likely still issue her a passport but you may need to file additional affidavits or documents after their initial review.
If you must serve the bio dad, and I think you will have to, you can send the notice to his last known address or serve by publication. Talk to an attorney about these options.
If you get married, and he seeks to adopt, you would likely simply follow the civil rules for publication of legal notice to satisfy the Probate Court and complete an adoption. Title 21 of the Ohio Revised Code requires service of process, but if a Father has failed to support a child for a period in excess of one year before the filing, or has failed to communicate for a similar period, consent is not required. Also, you may wish to look at ORC 3109.042, the statute setting out the legal rights of an unmarried mother-- which by statute asserts that you are automatically custodian of the child, until such time as the absent parent files Motions with the Court to assert any legal rights-- and even then, until paternity is established, he has no legal standing to do so nor rights to do so. In other words, your position i9s safe. Good Luck.
The answers to questions provided in response to the request for assistance are general in nature, and reflect information which is primarily based upon general legal principals, and may additionally reflect Ohio principles of legal practice, as this is the primary location of this Attorney's practice. As with any legal advice, the advise is general in character, and should not be put into practice without specifically consulting your local counsel, who will possess far more insight into the applicable standards and laws of your specific State, your case's specific issues and the local Rules of Court and practices of the specific jurisdiction in which your legal action is located. You are specifically instructed : Do not proceed without first discussing this matter with your own local Attorney. This Office does not provide free legal advice by telephone. A 15 Minute Consultation can be obtained at no cost for certain types of legal cases, but to obtain same, an Office appointment is required. Provision of the answers to general questions does not constitute an act of representation, and the Attorney shall not be deemed to accept employment based upon the responses contained herein. The reader is advised that they utilize the general suggestions contained in the responses at their own risk, and under no circumstances should they disregard the advise of their present local legal counsel based upon any suggestions or opinions contained herein. Also, the bast method to discuss a case with an attorney is to do so directly, by scheduling a formal consultation in their office, bringing with you at the time of the meeting all of your relevant paperwork, including any contratcs, any Orders from Court, decrees, complaints, pleadings, etc., and any other relevant information for the attorney to review. General information via the internet is no substitute for an actual meeting with an attorney. The advice provided on line in response to the limited information is provided without charge. It is also provided without the benefit of face to face discussions, so before you act--consult an attorney in person.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline