Mother’s Rights

A mother’s rights in Medina, Wooster, and North Canton, Ohio, are subject to Title 31 of the Ohio Revised Code. The law is intended to protect women and their children while, at the same time, affording rights to the father of the child. Although the U.S. Supreme Court has protected the right of a parent to make decisions on behalf of a minor child, Ohio statutes allow the parents and relatives of an unmarried mother to have companionship or visitation rights with the child under certain circumstances.

Legal Custodian Under Ohio Law

Married parents of a child share equal rights in making decisions pertaining to the general welfare, education, medical care, treatment, and other aspects of the child’s life. Married parents also equally share the financial responsibilities pertaining to their child.

The parental rights of an unmarried woman in Medina, Wooster, and North Canton are protected by section 3109.042 of the Ohio Revised Code. The law makes an unmarried mother the sole residential parent and caregiver to her child. This continues until a court decides otherwise.

If paternity is legally established and the father files a petition requesting custody or a child support proceeding is instituted in court, an order will be made allocating parental rights and responsibilities. Once paternity has been established, the mother and father of the child have equal rights and responsibilities in much the same manner as married parents.

Companionship and Visitation Rights

Although the law in Medina, Wooster, and North Canton grants parental rights to the unmarried mother of a child, the parents or any relative of the mother have the right to file a complaint with the court of common pleas requesting an order for companionship or visitation with the child under section 3109.12 of the Ohio Revised Code. If paternity of the father has been established, the father can ask for parenting time, and the father’s parents and any relatives of the father can ask the court for reasonable companionship or visitation.

Decisions made by a court pertaining to parenting time, companionship, or visitation rights must take into consideration the best interest of the child. Section 3109.051 of the Ohio Revised Code includes the following factors a judge must take into consideration in making its decision under ORC section 3109.12:

  • Interaction and relationship between child and its relatives including the person asking for companionship or visitation
  • Geographical location of child’s residence and that of the person asking for visitation or companionship
  • Available time of the child and its parent
  • Age of the child
  • Adjustment of child to home, community, and school
  • The wishes of the child as disclosed to the judge in an interview in chambers
  • Child’s health and safety
  • Time child will have available to spend with siblings
  • Mental and physical health of the child and parties involved in the case
  • Extent to which the parents and parties are will to cooperate in facilitating parenting time or visitation
  • Whether the person asking for companionship or visitation has been convicted of crimes involving child abuse, neglect, or the commission of an abusive act toward a child
  • Wishes and concerns of the child’s mother
  • Any additional factors that might help in determining the best interest of the child

Child Support

An unmarried mother of a child in Wooster, Medina, or North Canton may file a complaint with the court asking for child support from the child’s father. If paternity has not been legally established, this must occur before a court can grant the mother an order for child support.

Establishing Paternity

Paternity can be legally established by an acknowledgment executed by the father and the mother of the child. It can also be established by court order following the filing of a petition and the putative father’s submission to genetic testing. DNA results are conclusive in establishing paternity.

Consulting a Medina Family Law Attorney

For more information or representation on issues pertaining to the mother’s rights in Wooster, Medina, or North Canton, Ohio, contact the Law Office of Parker & Erb, LLC at 330.725.4114.