Rights of Unmarried Parents

It is important for unmarried parents to establish their parenting rights and responsibilities. This is especially so if parents are:

  • experiencing difficulty getting along with one another,
  • refusing to cooperate regarding visitation, or
  • disagree on parenting decisions.

In Ohio, an unmarried woman who gives birth to a child is automatically granted full custody. The unmarried father must obtain his parenting rights through the courts. An order to pay child support through the child support enforcement agency does not provide an unmarried father with parenting rights. A court order establishing parental rights and responsibilities provides an important framework which unmarried parents can build upon to establish a positive and healthy relationship between both mother and father.