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Mothers’ Rights – What Custody Rights Does A Mother Have?

Under Ohio law, a mother’s rights to custody differ depending on her marital status at the time of birth. An unmarried mother automatically has full custody of the child from the child’s first day of life. However, a married mother has the exact same rights as her husband at the time of the child’s birth. The result of this is that both the father and mother have equal rights to custody of the child during their marriage. This remains the case until there is a court order that says something different.

Rather, the court automatically considers an unmarried mother to be the sole residential parent and legal custodian. This means an unmarried mother doesn’t need to file anything to legally establish that she has sole custody. The birth certificate is all the evidence she needs.

While this automatic sole custody designation sounds like an advantage, it does come with a major drawback. The unmarried mother cannot force the father to provide child support or health insurance until there is a Child Support Order. Obtaining one of these orders will give the father the ability to enforce his rights to custody, visitation and decision-making.

In comparison, an unmarried father has no legally enforceable rights regarding the child until a court “recognizes” him through an order. However, the court legally presumes that a married man is the biological father of the child born during his marriage. This legal presumption can be defeated by filing the proper paperwork and obtaining DNA testing to “disestablish parentage.”

Determination Of Child Custody Rights By The Court

Ohio law prohibits the court from favoring one parent over the other because of their gender. This means when two parents come to the court to have their custody determination made, they are on equal footing. When making this determination, the court must consider what is in the child’s best interests. (For more on what these “best interests” are and how they are determined, see Child Custody).

Contact Us To Discuss Your Custody Rights

At Greco Law, we provide each and every client with professional, aggressive and practical representation. We focus on these overarching principles while remaining sensitive to each client’s unique concerns and goals.

From the cases that require an aggressive approach involving investigation and intense litigation, to those that only require negotiating the best terms for a Shared Parenting Plan, our attorneys are here for you. With more than 50 years of combined experience, we are prepared to protect and fight for mother’s rights from the first day of representation through trial. Call us at 614-963-9154 or contact us online and see what sets us apart from other firms.