In Ohio, unmarried mothers are automatically granted full custody of a child born out of wedlock under Revised Code Section 3109.0942 until the father of that child files an action in Juvenile Court and actually obtains an Order from the Court granting him parenting time.
This means that as an unmarried, pregnant woman you have sole legal authority and decision making power over your unborn child. One of the first major decisions you will make for your child happens before you even leave the hospital-- the name. Naming your baby goes beyond your favorite names in the baby book, you need to choose a last name for your baby as well.
When faced with the question of whether to give your baby your own last name or the father’s surname, you should ask yourself one simple question: Why give your child the father’s last name when he hasn’t given you his?
That’s right. Don’t do it.
It is tempting to give your child the father’s last name for all types of reasons. You’re emotional. You feel that it is the “right thing to do”. It’s tradition. Maybe you will end up together and there are wedding bells in your future. I sincerely hope that is the case. But if the man hasn’t married you, don’t name your baby for him.
It is much more difficult to change your child’s last name later on with a father who protests the change than it is to change your child’s last name from yours to his once you marry.
To find out how the experience attorneys at Stafford Law Co. can help you make the best decisions for your baby both before and after the birth, and to discuss birth costs and child support, please contact us as 216.241.1074 to schedule an appointment.