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The Ohio LGBT community’s new right to marry also means the right to step-parent adoption

GAY ADOPTION LAWYER, COLUMBUS LESBIAN ADOPTION LAWYER, COLUMBUS LGBT ADOPTION LAWYERVirginia Cornwell is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialist Attorney who works with the LGBT community.

Many LGBT Ohioans will be celebrating the recent U.S. Supreme Court Decision Obergefell, et al. v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, et al. and racing to the courthouse to get their marriage license and say “I do.”

However, the marriage of two partners may not change their family dynamic as completely as they hoped it would.  If the partners are co-parenting children together, assuming one of the parents is a biological parent, then after the marriage ceremony the children have a new step-parent.  Step-parent may not be the dynamic that the parties have in mind.  They may want something more permanent, like step-parent adoption.

Step-parent adoption is not right for everyone.  It will terminate the parental rights of the biological parent that is not part of the marriage.  That may be undesirable for some.  There are certain circumstances where the parental rights of the person who is not part of the marriage can be terminated against their will.  To learn whether step-parent adoption is right for your family, call the Law Offices of Virginia C. Cornwell to schedule a consultation.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

GAY ADOPTION LAWYER, SAME SEX ADOPTION LAWYERS IN COLUMBUS OHIO, GAY FAMILY LAWYER,  LGBT FAMILY ATTORNEYS IN, A FAMILY LAWYER, FAMILY LAW LAWYERS, FAMILY LAWYERS, OHIO DIVORCE LAWYER, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS, attorney ohio family law, columbus attorneys, columbus lawyers, columbus lawyer, columbus attorney, ohio divorce attorney, lawyer in columbus ohio, lawyer columbus ohio, columbus ohio lawyer, columbus ohio attorneys, attorney at law ohio, divorce lawyer columbus, divorce attorney columbus, ohio divorce lawyers, ohio divorce lawyer, ohio divorce attorney, ohio LGBT divorce attorneys, columbus LGBT divorce attorneyDo you want to talk to an attorney about a step parent adoption?  Our attorneys are here to help you!  It all starts with a phone call.

DISCLAIMER – Read it, it’s important!

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Ohio Father’s Rights News: Fast Action May Be Needed to Protect Your Rights!

Ohio Father of Unborn Child

Ohio Fathers may need to act fast to preserve their rights to parent their child. Although registering with the Ohio Putative Father’s Registry before the birth of their child or within 15 days of the birth of their child will entitled them to notice of an adoption, it does not necessarily preserve their right to stop their child from being adopted, and their parental rights from being terminated.  Recent Ohio Supreme Court decisions have promoted father’s rights and affirmed the rights of birth fathers to stop the adoption of their children.  The conclusion that can be drawn from these decisions is thats the best way to stop your child from being adopted, and your parental rights from being terminated, is to file an action in Juvenile court to establish paternity and/ or parental rights.  An action to establish paternity can be filed even before the child is born.

COLUMBUS OHIO FATHERS RIGHTS ATTORNEYIn re Adoption of G.V. and In re Adoption of P.A.C. both held that the probate court may not proceed with an adoption while there is an issue pending in juvenile court concerning the parenting of the child.  The Court applied their 2006 decision In re Adoption of Pushcar to these cases, holding that the issue in juvenile court must be finalized before the adoption may proceed.

In Pushcar, the child’s biological parents were not married.  The husband of the child’s mother filed to adopt the child, and the biological father opposed the adoption.  The biological father’s paternity action had not yet been finalized, and at issue was whether it was necessary for the biological father to consent to the adoption.  The Court held that his consent to the adoption was necessary, even if paternity had not yet been formally established.

FRANKLIN COUNTY OHIO FATHERS ATTORNEYBehind this decision is the policy concern that, “the right of a natural parent to the care and custody of his children is one of the most precious and fundamental in law.”  In re Adoption of Masa.  Ohio recognizes the interest parents have in raising their children as fundamental, and “the state’s interest in finding the best home for the child does not arise until the parent has been found unfit.” Cruzan v. Director.

UNMARRIED MILITARY FATHER MOTHER IN OHIO PATERNITYThe Ohio Supreme Court applied this principle in the 2010 decision In re Adoption of P.A.C.  In this case, the child’s biological father, Gary Otten, was not married to the child’s mother and was not listed on the birth certificate.  Otten opposed the child’s adoption. Applying Pushcar, the Supreme Court affirmed that his consent to the adoption was necessary, even though he had not registered with the Putative Father RegistryPushcar was applied in another recent decision as well.  In In re Adoption of G.V. the biological father had registered with the Putative Father Registry before the adoption petition was filed.  The Supreme Court again held that Pushcar applied to this case, making his consent to the adoption necessary.

A putative father is an individual who may be a child’s father, but was not married to the child’s mother on or before the child was born, has not established paternity of the child, or has not been determined to be the father of the child by a court proceeding or an administrative agency.  In the event that an adoption petition is filed for a child, the Putative Father Registry operates as a system to identify an undisclosed putative father and provide him with notice of the adoption petition.  The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services suggests that anyone who thinks someone may be pregnant and that he may be the father should register with the Putative Father Registry no later than 15 days after the child’s birth.  Registration is free, and adults or minors may register.   You can read more about the Putative Father Registry here:

ATTORNEY WHO REPRESENTS FATHERS IN COLUMBUS OHIOPLEASE NOTE: The Ohio Putative Father Registry form only has a post office box.  If you are close to the 15 day deadline, and do not want to take a risk that your form will be processed too late, or that your form may be lost in the mail, then you should consider going down to the Putative Father Registry office in person.  There is a toll free number on the form that you can call, and if you explain your circumstances they SHOULD give you their office address.  The last published address that this office was able to find was: 50 W. Town Street, Suite 400, Columbus, Ohio, 43215.  Remember, it is up to YOU to make sure you have their current address, so pick up the phone and call them, don’t rely on this website to make sure you have the current address.



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Can your past convictions or offenses prevent you from adopting a child in Ohio?

A Columbus Ohio Step-Parent Adoption Attorney article:

In Ohio, the short answer is YES.  The long answer is – maybe, it depends.  If you have violated any of the laws in this section of the Ohio Revised Code:, then you may be ineligible to adopt a child in Ohio.  Note that the statute discusses a “violation” of one of these laws, not a “conviction” of one of these laws.  This may come into play where a person was charged with one crime and pled to a lesser crime.  In addition, any law which is not listed in statute, but may effect a child, may also prevent you from successfully pursuing adoption.  [Read more…]

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Can I just sign away my rights to my child?

COLUMBUS PARENTAL RIGHTS ATTORNEYA Columbus Family Law Attorney article about signing away your rights to your child.

In Ohio, usually when people ask this question, what they mean is – if I agree not to be a part of my child’s life will I have to pay child support?  In Ohio, visitation, or parenting time, is a privilege, not a right.  Support, on the other hand, is an obligation.  Both visitation and child support are modifiable until the child reaches majority, or until the parent’s rights are terminated by either an adoption or a children’s services type of proceeding terminating parental rights.  Another way of putting it is this – if a person wants to walk away from their child, a court may agree that it is in the child’s best interest not to have contact with that parent, but that does not relieve the parent from the obligation to support their child.  Nothing but a termination of parental rights via adoption or children’s services case will eliminate the possibility that a zero child support order may be modified in the future.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

COLUMBUS ATTORNEY SIGN AWAY RIGHTSUntil recently, Ohio courts generally held that child support was not modifiable retroactively.  In some situations where a parent has failed to pay child support for years and had an enormous child support arrearage, the parent with the child support arrearage sometimes would offer to “sign away their rights” if the custodial parent would agree to “get rid of” the child support arrearage.  Sometimes this offer was attractive to the custodial parent, but Ohio courts maintained that the Ohio Revised Code does not allow retroactive modification of child support.  On December 11, 2008, the Ohio Supreme Court, in the case Byrd v. Knuckles, decided that a court MAY, but is NOT REQUIRED TO, accept an agreement of the parents to terminate a child support arrearage. To learn more about the Byrd v. Knuckles case and retroactive modification of child support, click here.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.