Mansfield, OH asked in Child Custody, Child Support and Family Law for Ohio

Q: The father of my child doesn’t have contact with her. Do I need to hire an attorney to file abandonment?

My daughters father has seen her 2 hours in the last 18 months and very minimal phone contact. Nothing from him since may of this year. Do I have to hire an attorney to file abandonment? I’ve recently found he’s on drugs so I’d like him out of her life

2 Lawyer Answers
Kelly A Rochotte
Kelly A Rochotte
Answered
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: First, this is a very difficult situation to be in as a mother, and I want to commend you for asking a legal forum before taking action. Second, "abandonment" in Ohio is governed by Ohio Revised Code 3127, which says that a parent who fails to maintain contact with the child for 90 days or more is presumed to have abandoned the child.

If you were never married, father would need to have paternity established to seek visitation. Paternity is established by either his name appearing on the child's birth certificate, his affidavit of paternity, or a DNA test that proves his paternity. If his paternity was never established, the law will presume that he does not have rights to the child unless he asks the court for them. You should definitely speak with an attorney in your county who handles child custody, and they will be able to guide you further.

1 user found this answer helpful

Todd B. Kotler
Todd B. Kotler
Answered
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Canton, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: I agree with my colleague but please also understand that the term "Abandonment" only has a meaning insofar as establishing whether a court has jurisdiction over a child. It does not impact whether a parent continues to have rights and responsibilities regarding a child. Generally, that does stop completely unless one of only a few instances. It happens when a parent voluntarily signs away those rights either in lieu of paying child support or as part of a step-parent adoption process, or where a Juvenile Court has found a child to be Dependent, Neglected or Abused and the court find that the parents have made so little case plan progress that it finds in the best interests that the child should be in the Permanent Custody of a county child welfare agency. None of these seem present under the facts described here. As my colleague suggested it will be worth your money to speak to an attorney for an hour.

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