This is the next post in our series on the rights of unmarried parents in Dayton, Ohio. Our last article discussed how Ohio views the rights of an unmarried father. Like many other states, ours gives no preference to a parent on the basis of gender. This means that the Court will view the rights of a mom and a dad as being equal and will only be concerned with the best interests of the child. How the Court will rule in any given situation is always going to depend on the specific facts of the case. It is, therefore, strongly suggested that you discuss your specific situation with an attorney. In this article we will discuss why unmarried parents may need a custody order, even if they currently have good relations with each other. If you are in need of assistance then contact our office to speak with a lawyer.
It is common for unmarried parents to go without a child custody order out of a belief that they do not need one. This belief is understandable when the parties have a history of exchanging the child on time, sharing financial obligations, and being respectful of one another. It is important to understand, however, that a custody order serves the purpose of having a structure for when times are not so good. It is, after all, common for people to not get along with their former significant others over the long-term. Having an existing order in place will provide the parties with a custody, visitation, and support structure which must be followed in the event that relations break down. If you and your ex currently have a child custody arrangement which is working for the two of you, then that arrangement can be reduced to an order of the Court.
There can be serious consequences to unmarried Ohio parents not having a child custody order. These consequences stem from the fact that the law considers the rights of each parent to be equal and law enforcement will not get involved in what it sees as a private matter. Consider the following example: The mother typically has the child Sunday through Thursday and the father has the child Friday and Saturday. The parents have never been married and have no custody order on file with the Court. The father shows up on Friday to pick up the child and, due to some disagreement between the parents, the mother refuses to hand the child over. The father will have no right to take the child from the mom, and law enforcement would not get involved as there is no order saying that the child must be with the father at that time. Similarly, if the father refused to return the child at the end of his visitation, then the mother would have no mechanism for having her son or daughter returned. If, on the other hand, a court order is in place then the offending parent risks being held in contempt of court.
If you are an unmarried parent then it is strongly suggested that you speak with a Dayton child custody lawyer so that you may obtain a child custody order. Doing so will help to ensure that small disagreements do not become more massive problems over time. Our attorneys have been serving the area for decades and we take pride in providing a high level of service. Contact us today.
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