What It Means To Be a Putative Father in Ohio

Putative Father in OhioThe Ohio laws for establishing paternity are completely different for a man that is married to the mother than for a man that is not.  If a man is married to the mother of their child, or divorced from the mother, but she gives birth to a child within 300 days after the divorce, then the man is “Presumed” to be the biological father of the child.  This can be rebutted with DNA testing if desired. But if not disputed, then the man is presumed to be the legal father of the child that is born.  In this case, the child is said to have been “Born issue of the marriage” and there is no legal question as to who the biological father is.

A woman that has a child out of wedlock presents an entirely different analysis as to making a determination on paternity of the child.  Since she was never married, there is no “Presumptive father” that gains automatic paternity establishment via Ohio law.  Instead, there may be a “Putative father.”  A putative father is defined as follows:

A putative father is a male who may be a child’s father, but who:

  • is not married to the child’s mother on or before the date that the child is born; or
  • has not established paternity of the child in a court or administrative agency proceeding in this or another state before the date the child is to be adopted; or
  • has not completed an acknowledgement of paternity affidavit before the filing of an adoption petition for the child.

If the mother of a child wants to place the child for adoption, the putative father must take steps to show that he is the legal father of that child in order to have the right to be notified of the adoption proceedings.

However, to even become a putative father, the man that believes he may have fathered the child MUST register with the state, if he did not sign an affidavit of paternity shortly after the child was born.  The “Ohio Putative Father Registry” is in existence for just this purpose.  If the thought-to-be-father does not register within 30 days after the baby is born, he may have waived his parental rights for life, depending on the circumstances.  The registry operates as follows:

  • The Ohio Putative Father Registry (OPFR) is a computerized database maintained by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The OPFR allows a male to register if he believes he may have fathered a child, and wants to be notified if the child is placed for adoption.
  • The OPFR is routinely searched as part of the process to determine whether the child is able to be legally adopted. If a child is placed for adoption and a putative father is listed in the registry, the putative father will be notified and can seek legal counsel regarding his rights. The OPFR also assists interested parties’ efforts to identify a putative father through submission of a request for a search to be conducted on the Ohio Putative Father Registry.

If you suspect that you may be the father of an unborn or recently born child, it is advisable that you take action immediately to preserve your rights.  Please contact the Ohio law firm of Slater & Zurz LLP for a free consultation by calling  1-800-297-9191 or send us a blog message.  We have experienced Ohio domestic relations attorneys that will be happy to help whatever your situation may be.

To learn more about Ohio domestic relations topics, please visit dissolutioanddivorce.com.

Source:  http://jfs.ohio.gov/pfr/

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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