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Q: unwed father's rights ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: unwed father's rights
Category: Family and Home > Parenting
Asked by: frankferrel-ga
List Price: $75.00
Posted: 20 Jul 2005 15:55 PDT
Expires: 19 Aug 2005 15:55 PDT
Question ID: 545984
I recently got my girlfriend pregnant.  We've been arguing back and
forth about the last name.  My question is what rights do I have as a
father?  We were never married,  I live in Ohio,  I have a good job
with benefits.  She is currently working part-time with no benefits. 
Could I possibly fight for the last name?  I've been to every doctor
visit, very supportive.  I want to be in this child's life every
minute I can get.  I'm afraid that when it comes down to it, I am
going to lose every battle. If she doesn't put me on the birth
certificate can the child still be covered under my insurance? Can she
not claim me as a father? Anything would be greatly appreciated before
I contact a lawyer.
Subject: Re: unwed father's rights
Answered By: tutuzdad-ga on 20 Jul 2005 18:20 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear frankferrel-ga;

Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to answer your interesting
question, even though the outlook is somewhat grim.

Some of your questions are just too broad and ambiguous to answer;
like ?What are my rights as a father?? for example. Biological fathers
can have dozens of rights so it depends on what specific thing you are
referring to. As for those issues you DID refer to specifically, I?ll
try to help you where possible:

One must consider this recent (2003) precedent in the state of Ohio
(its worth mentioning to your lawyer and worthy of asking him or her
more about):

In re Dayton, 155 Ohio App.3d 407, 2003-Ohio-6397.] STATE OF OHIO,
Reed v Dayton

In this case Reed and Dayton lived together. Dayton became pregnant
and Reed dutifully cared for her, took her to all of her appointments.
Upon the birth of the child Reed wanted the baby to bear his surname
but the mother had other plans. Without consulting him she signed the
papers, which she is legally entitled to do as the unmarried custodial
parent, legally giving the child HER surname. Reed sued to have the
name changed to HIS surname. The lower court?s decided in favor of the
mother (Dayton) and declined to order the child?s surname changed to
the biological father?s name.

Reed appealed and claimed that the court decided in error. He argued
that he paid support, attempted visitation, and generally upheld his
supportive obligations as the father, therefore the child should have
his surname. He also cited ?Bobo v Jewell (1988) 38 Ohio St. 3d330?
and ?In re Wilhite (1999) 85 Ohio St.3d 28? that the name change would
not in any way be detrimental to the child, the name change would not
inconvenience the mother or the child, and the name change would be
beneficial to the child, just to name a few.

To make a long story short (and your lawyer can verify this) the
Appellate Court held that Reeds argument was without merit and the
upheld the lower court?s decision. The name was left as the mother

On the other hand, if you can convince an Ohio court that all the
tings Reed argued ARE relevant, perhaps they will side with you ? who
knows. New precedents are set all the time.

Having said that, it appears on the surface at least that in the state
of Ohio the biological father appears to have little recourse should
the biological mother (to whom he is not legally married) decides to
give their illegitimate child her surname rather than his, in spite of
how well he cared for her or the child.

Finally (as you alluded to in your question), your best bet (our
disclaimer notes we cannot provide legal advice) is to contact a
lawyer, but in the meantime these father?s rights sites may be of
great interest to you:

Parents And Children for Equality (PACE)


Father's/Men's Rights

I wish I had better news for you. I hope you find that my research
exceeds your expectations. If you have any questions about my research
please post a clarification request prior to rating the answer.
Otherwise, I welcome your rating and your final comments and I look
forward to working with you again in the near future. Thank you for
bringing your question to us.

Best regards;
Tutuzdad ? Google Answers Researcher





Google ://








frankferrel-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Very satisfied, atleast now I am armed with cases to bring to my
lawyer's attention. Thank you.

Subject: Re: unwed father's rights
From: expertlaw-ga on 07 Sep 2005 10:47 PDT
Dear Frank,

You ask a number of questions which are not uncommon concerns for
people in your position.

1. My question is what rights do I have as a father?

Until you are recognized as the father of the child, whether by virtue
of an affidavit of parentage executed by you and the mother (in Ohio,
this is called an "Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit" and can be
completed at the hospital after the child is born), or following the
conclusion of paternity proceedings before a court, you are
effectively without rights. You don't get the benefit of the
presumption of paternity that comes from marriage.

2. Could I possibly fight for the last name?

As is outlined in the above answer, it is probably not a fight you can win.

3. If she doesn't put me on the birth certificate can the child still
be covered under my insurance?

If you are the father, either by virtue of an affidavit of parentage
or by virtue of a paternity action, your name should be added to the
child's birth certificate and you should be able to include the child
on your insurance.

4. Can she not claim me as a father?

Yes, that is possible. However, a father has the legal right to
commence paternity proceedings. If she claims that you are not the
father, you can bring a paternity action, obtain a court-ordered DNA
test, and have a judge rule on your paternity based upon the results
of the testing. It appears that in Ohio your County Child Support
Enforcement Agency (CSEA) may be able to assist with the process of
paternity determination. To find your local CSEA, you may wish to
consult the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services website:

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