Sometimes unmarried fathers are hesitant to go to court to seek their rights for a variety of reasons:
- They do not want to antagonize the mother.
- They are afraid of how much child support they will have to pay if they begin legal proceedings.
- They do not want to begin their co-parenting relationship with the mother by taking her to court.
- They are not sure if they have spent enough time trying to work out an agreement with the mother yet.
These are all valid concerns. However, the risk that the Father who waits takes is that they mother will move. Until an unmarried father has established his parental rights of parenting time, the mother has no duty to tell him when she is going to move and where she is going. Even when he does have parenting time, unless the court orders it (father needs to ask for it), mother might simply have a duty to let the COURT know where she is going, not the father.
If a father goes to court to seek his parental rights, he can ask for a restraining order while the case is pending, keeping the mother from removing the child from the jurisdiction of the court. If he does not do this, and the mother moves, the father may have a tough time serving her with his complaint, and if he cannot serve her, he cannot get relief from the court.
Therefore, every father has to balance the concerns above with the concern that the mother might move and take the child out of his reach forever. This is something that has to be decided on a case by case basis, there is no hard and fast rule that a father has to rush to court, but he should be aware of the risk.
CALL NOW at (614) 225-9316
Virginia Cornwell is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialist.
DISCLAIMER – Read it, it’s important!