parent child relationship parentage

Parent and child relationship means the legal relationship that exists between a child and the child’s natural or adoptive parents and upon which those sections and any other provision of the Revised Code confer or impose rights, privileges, duties, and obligations. The “parent and child relationship” includes the mother and child relationship and the father and child relationship. How Does Someone Establish Paternity? In some cases, the court must decide parental rights. In other situations, the person is a child’s biological parent. With adoption, it would be a non-biological parent. The parent and child relationship is legal and imposes duties, obligations, rights, and privileges.  In Ohio, there are three primary ways to establish paternity.  Marriage The most common way to establish parental rights is through marriage. The law assumes paternity when a couple is married when the mother gives birth. Paternity will also be assumed when the child is born within 300 days after divorce or death. Parties have the right to dispute this at a support hearing, but resolving such a dispute would require genetic testing. If the mother is unmarried, the child has no legal father, and parentage must be established by one of the remaining two options.  Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit The affidavit of parenting time is a form that’s available at the hospital when the mother is in labor. You can also pick one up at the nearest Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). Both parents must complete the affidavit form and have it notarized. Completing the acknowledgment of the paternity affidavit is a voluntary process for establishing the identity of the child’s biological parents. Mothers who have doubts about who the father is should not let someone sign the affidavit. It’s better to proceed with genetic testing first if any doubt exists.  Filling out the form requires a photo ID. Each parent must provide their full name, address, date of birth, and Social Security Number (if applicable). The father will also need to provide his birth state or country. Both parents must sign the form in front of a notary, but they don’t need to do it at the same time. For the affidavit form, free notary services are available at hospitals, CSEAs, or local registrars and health departments.  Genetic Testing The third method of establishing paternity is through genetic testing. This option usually happens when someone is contesting paternity, or the child’s parentage is in question. Parentage testing is done by swabbing skin cells inside the mouth of the child, mother, and potential father. For the court to confirm paternity, the test results must indicate a 99% chance of paternity. If the court or CSEA issues an order for paternity, the potential father could face legal troubles for not cooperating with the order.  When you establish parentage through genetic testing or the affidavit, results are sent to the Central Paternity Registry in Ohio. The Central Paternity Registry (CPR) is a federally-mandated program that requires each state to maintain a paternity registry for all children born to unmarried mothers.  Establishing Rights and Benefits  For many people, voluntarily establishing paternity is desirable. Parents typically want to have their name on the birth certificate, and they want to enjoy the legal rights and obligations of being a parent. Some of the benefits are as follows:  The father gains legal rights to their child once their name is added to the child’s birth certificate. That gives the child access to benefits such as life insurance, Social Security, inheritances, and military benefits, if applicable.  The child has access to their father’s health insurance, and they have information on both the mother’s and father’s medical histories.  One of the most obvious benefits of establishing paternity is the opportunity for a child to bond with their father.  What Happens After You Determine Paternity? What happens once you determine paternity might vary depending on your circumstances. If both parents are in a committed relationship, there may not be a need to file anything with the court. For parents who are not together, it may be necessary to file for custody and child support. The court might issue an order that allocates custody and each parent’s rights and responsibilities. Each parent will have the opportunity to present evidence supporting what they believe to be in the child’s best interests.  The court will also request health insurance information and proof of income to determine a reasonable award for child support.  Do You Need to Hire a Family Law Attorney? While you are under no obligation to hire a lawyer for parentage matters, it’s definitely wise to do so. The legal team at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, has over 50 years of collective experience in family law matters. We understand how quickly things can turn sour in paternity cases. We can assist you if you are the mother requesting someone get genetic testing or if you are the father who needs help establishing parental rights.  Don’t jeopardize your potential rights by trying to handle a parentage case independently. Our family law attorneys stand ready to help. Contact our office at 937-222-1515 to schedule an initial consultation. 

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can criminal record affect child custody

Incarceration, fines, and probation are the obvious consequences of a criminal conviction. But convictions—especially felony convictions—have collateral consequences too. One of the most significant is the effect a criminal conviction has on the custody of your children.  If you have concerns about how your criminal case will affect your custody rights, you need a law firm with extensive experience and resources to fight for you. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, our criminal defense and family lawyers work together to provide you with comprehensive legal services designed to protect your rights.  Our award-winning attorneys will explain all of your options thoroughly, so you understand the best strategy for your defense. Child Custody Disputes Family courts in Ohio understand the important role that both parents play in their children‘s lives. However, family courts do not automatically grant parenting rights to both parents. Instead, the court has to perform a legal balancing test. Courts consider many things when making custody determinations, but the best interests of the child are at the very top of the list. Ohio law spells out the best interests of the child test. Under this test, the judge deciding custody must examine 10 factors—one of which is whether either parent has a criminal conviction on their record. Safety and Welfare of the Children Are Most Important The court’s primary concern is the safety and welfare of the child. To decide if a parent with a conviction on their record provides a safe haven for the child, a judge considers several factors. A judge could consider factors such as: The age of the conviction; The identity of the victim, if any; The facts of the case; Whether the parent acted violently; Whether there was an allegation of drug possession or use; and The type of sentence the parent received.  In determining what weight to give the conviction, a judge might consider other factors as well. The law requires the judge to determine whether a parents’ previous convictions involve sexually explicit crimes, crimes of violence towards family or household members, or the neglect of a child. A judge very closely examines prior convictions for these types of offenses because they are highly relevant to protecting children. How Does a Criminal Record Affect Child Custody? As we’ve discussed, the judge looks at a variety of factors concerning a conviction when determining the best interests of the child. Ohio law categorizes crimes as misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanor offenses are less serious than felonies.  You might wonder, How can a misdemeanor affect child custody? A misdemeanor conviction might concern a judge if it shows a history of violence or substance abuse. For example, a DUI conviction is a misdemeanor, but multiple DUI convictions can be evidence of an alcohol problem. Likewise, an assault or battery may only be charged as a misdemeanor—but multiple offenses may indicate that the parent has trouble controlling their anger. This, in turn, can endanger a child and may affect whether the judge grants you custody or not. How Does a Felony Affect Child Custody? Judges look at felony convictions similarly. If there have not been additional convictions in many years and the prior felony is old, then the judge might not place too much weight on it. However, if you are still incarcerated, on probation, or if the convictions involved violence, then the judge might place significant weight on your priors. Additionally, a judge may use pending criminal charges against you. A felony conviction by itself might not disqualify you from seeing your child. However, in determining the best interests of the child, a judge may also look at: The other parent’s wishes; The child’s wishes; The mental and physical health of both parents; How the child and the parent interact;  If the parent previously honored court-approved parenting time; and If the parent has stable housing. A judge might not decide that a conviction on its own disqualifies a parent from having custody. However, the consequences of a felony conviction, such as lengthy incarceration, can prevent the convicted parent from having any relationship with their child. Failing to cultivate or maintain a relationship with your child can hurt your chances of winning custody.  Can Expunged Records be Used Against You in Family Court? An expunged record removes your charges from the public record. Therefore, if you have an expunged record, your co-parent might not know about it. As a result, an expunged record typically will not be used against you. If you have convictions or prior charges on your record and you’re worried about how they might affect your custody rights, you should consider speaking with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. They can tell you what steps to take to minimize the impact of prior criminal charges. How Can a Convicted Felon Get Custody of a Child? Perhaps you have an impression the males are at a disadvantage in child custody proceedings.  You might even wonder, Can a father get joint custody if he has a criminal record? Whether you are the mother or father, showing the judge that you can be a safe and positive parent for your child will help you retain custody. It’s essential to remain clean and sober, find employment, and attend counseling if required. Additionally, you have to obey all family court orders. You can do that by visiting with your child as scheduled, being a cooperative co-parent, and paying child support. A criminal record is only one aspect of your history. Being a responsible and loving parent will go a long way in helping you maintain a relationship with and custody of your child. Call Us If You Have Additional Questions About Your Child Custody Rights Perhaps avoiding a criminal conviction is the best way to ensure that you never have to ask, Does a criminal record affect child custody? At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, our award-winning criminal defense lawyers will assemble a defense strategy that best suits your needs. Contact Gounaris Abboud, LPA, at 937-222-1515 to speak with an award-winning attorney today. We have...

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child endangerment ohio

Any criminal charge involving children will often result in high stress and amplified emotion. A charge of child endangerment is no exception.  Child endangerment is an extremely serious charge in Ohio, and penalties can be severe. Thus, in most cases, it is absolutely necessary to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help defend you against one of the most difficult charges you can face.  If you are facing a child endangerment charge in or near Dayton, OH, consider consulting with an attorney today to discuss your case and determine how best to move forward. Ohio Child Endangerment Laws: An Overview Ohio defines child endangerment in Ohio Revised Code § 2929.22. Under this statute, it is a violation to “create a substantial risk to the health or safety of the child, by violating a duty of care, protection, or support.” Additionally, a “child,” for purposes of Ohio child endangerment laws, includes anyone under the age of 18, or a mentally or physically handicapped person who is under the age of 21.  This definition of child endangerment is broad. However, the Ohio Revised Code does provide some additional definition. Specifically, the following will constitute child endangerment in Ohio:  Abuse of the child;  Torture or cruel abuse of the child;  Prolonged corporal punishment or other physical disciplinary measures that are “excessive under the circumstances”; Repeated disciplinary measures that, if continued, would seriously impair the child’s mental health or development; and Enticing, coercing, or permitting a child to participate in any act that is obscene or sexual in nature.  While this list is not exclusive, it is important to understand the types of activities that may constitute child endangerment in Ohio.  It is also important to note that under this section, parents are not the only parties that can be found guilty of child endangerment. Under Ohio law, any of the following can be charged with child endangerment:  Parents,  Guardians,  Custodians,  Persons having custody or control of a child, or  Persons in loco parentis of a child.  For clarity, “in loco parentis” means any adult who is the caretaker of a child. This includes relatives, foster parents, or stepparents who have the rights, duties, and responsibilities of a parent.  Penalties for Child Endangerment in Ohio Placing a child’s life at risk is a serious offense. Thus, the penalties for child endangerment charges in Ohio are severe.  A first offense for child endangerment will result in a first-degree misdemeanor. Consequences for such a conviction include up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, if this is not your first conviction, the penalties can be even more severe. Depending on whether you have prior offenses and whether the child sustained severe injuries, a conviction for child endangerment can be elevated as high as a second-degree felony. Under Ohio law, a felony of the second degree can result in up to 8 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.  Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today A charge for child endangerment has the potential to impact your rights as a caretaker for a child. Additionally, a charge can impact your reputation and lead to harsh criminal penalties. We understand how difficult it can feel to face a charge of child endangerment in Ohio. However, know that you are not alone.  At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we are prepared to help you through this difficult time and will strive to provide you with the best defense the law can provide. Our team of criminal defense lawyers has over 50 years of collective experience providing high-quality legal counsel to clients in need. Contact us online or by phone at 937-222-1515 for a free consultation to see how we can help you.

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How to File for Divorce in Ohio

Ending a marriage is never an easy thing to do, but divorce is the right choice for some couples. If you are getting divorced, you are not alone. Filing for divorce is complicated. Beyond the heavy, intense emotional issues, many legal and logistical matters must be resolved. Here, our Dayton divorce attorneys explain how to file for divorce in Ohio. Four Steps for Filing for Divorce in Ohio 1.) You Must Meet the Eligibility Requirements Under Ohio law (3105.01), you must meet the state’s residency requirements to file for divorce. Either you or your spouse must have lived in the state of Ohio for at least six months before you filed for divorce. Couples seeking a divorce in Ohio must file in the county where they have resided for the last 90 days. If you do not yet meet Ohio residency requirements, you must wait to do so.  2.) Select Your Grounds for Divorce To file for divorce in Ohio, you must select and prove grounds for the separation. Most couples choose to seek a no-fault divorce in Ohio. Married couples can get a divorce on the grounds of “incompatibility” in Ohio. 3.) Prepare and File Divorce Forms When you file for divorce in Ohio, ensure that all forms are correctly prepared and submitted. The specific requirements for divorce forms sometimes vary from county to county. In any Ohio divorce, you must: File a case designation sheet; File a divorce complaint; and Include instructions for serving divorce papers on your spouse. If you are a parent of a minor, you must complete and submit a Parenting Proceeding Affidavit. Eventually, divorcing parents must create a shared parenting plan with documents for child support calculations. 4.) Resolve the Key Issues Before you can finalize your divorce, all relevant issues must be resolved. Critical issues in an Ohio divorce case can include: Property division; Debt division; Alimony (spousal support); Child custody; Child visitation; and Child support In some divorce cases, litigation may be necessary to reach a resolution. However, that is usually not the case. Most divorces are settled outside of the courtroom — either through collaborative divorce, divorce mediation, or through another type of negotiation. Get Help From Our Dayton, OH Divorce Lawyers Today At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, our Ohio family law attorneys are compassionate advocates for clients. If you are filing for divorce, we are here to help. For a free confidential divorce consultation, please contact our legal team right away. From our law office in Dayton, we serve communities throughout the region, including in Montgomery County, Miami County, and Greene County.

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Filing for Divorce in Ohio

If you or your spouse are considering divorce, you must understand the divorce process in Ohio. At Gounaris Abboud, we provide professional and experienced representation to our clients during the divorce process. An Ohio divorce lawyer at our firm can answer any questions you might have today. In the meantime, we want to give you with more information about filing for divorce in Ohio. Filing for Divorce in Ohio Under Ohio law (Ohio Rev. Code § 3105.17), the divorce process begins when one spouse files a complaint for divorce. Ohio is one of a few states in the U.S. that recognizes fault-based divorce. When one party files for divorce, that party must state a fault-based ground for divorce or the “no-fault” option. The “no-fault” divorce option is only possible if both parties agree to the divorce. When both parties agree to the “no-fault” option, the process is a “dissolution of marriage.” Fault-Based Versus No-Fault Grounds for Divorce in Ohio According to the Ohio Revised Code, the following are possible causes for divorce: Either party had a spouse living at the time of the marriage; Willful absence of the adverse party for one year (abandonment); Adultery; Extreme cruelty; Fraudulent contract; Any gross neglect of duty; Habitual intoxication; or Incompatibility, unless denied by either party (“no-fault” option). If one of the parties files a petition for divorce based on incompatibility and the other party agrees, then this is a “no-fault” divorce option. If the parties have lived apart for at least one year from the date of the divorce complaint, there is no need to claim fault. When a party cites a fault-based ground for divorce, property division, alimony, and other matters in the divorce process might be affected. Contact a Divorce Attorney in Ohio Do you have questions about the divorce process in Ohio? An Ohio divorce attorney at our firm can assist you. Contact Gounaris Abboud today for more information.

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same-sex marriage

Municipal Judge C. Allen McConnell of Toledo, Ohio has refused to acknowledge same-sex couples who come to his court to be married. The judge has cited his own personal religious beliefs for his reasoning behind the refusals, feeling that the United States Supreme Court’s ruling late last month has ignored the rights of religious individuals. He is certainly not alone in his beliefs but he is certainly one of the few municipal judges acting upon them in this way. When two women came to his court in the beginning of July, they did so to avoid any churches that may have been offended by their wishes to marry. They believed that a municipal judge would have to abide and provide them with the ceremony, as simple as it may be, as the court is not a religious institution and the judge would be performing his duty as described in his occupation. Much to their surprise, Judge McConnell was able to readily turn them down. But how? Even Judges Can Use Legal Loopholes Judge C. Allen McConnell has been able to avoid any immediate punishment for his actions due to a gray area in the law. By passing along his responsibility to another municipal judge who will perform the marriage ceremonies, he is not directly or definitively denying them their newfound right to be married. Instead, he is merely adding a delay in the process. Members of the community and nearly 30 other public officials have voiced their concern over his behavior, however. They fear that his unwillingness to put aside his religious beliefs in this matter could indicate his inability to be impartial in just about any other issue. Whether or not he faces any official punishment, including removal from his elected position, is yet to be determined. If you are dealing with a family law issue and believe it could be related to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on same-sex marriage, you can come to Gounaris Abboud, LPA for assistance. Our Dayton divorce attorneys can use their years of experience and unparalleled knowledge of litigation to get you through even the most difficult of circumstances. Contact us today to get started.

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