Legal Question in Family Law in Ohio

Need advice on family security, common law marriage, etc.

I am 25 yrs. old, with 2 children, one from a previous relationship, and one from the relationship that I have been in for the last 3 yrs. I am now pregnant again, by the same person I have been living with who is also my son's father. We have lived together and shared parenting for 2 1/2 yrs, so that is where the common law marriage question come in to play, but I am confused because he is still married to his wife, but has been seperated for 5 yrs from her. By the way we are not mormon so maybe there is no common law marriage. I need some security if anything were to happen to him, that the children I had with him are taken care of, and the wife cannot interfere with that. What are my legal rights and obligations? And what are his legal rights and obligations? It gets tricky, because he is a business owner so there are alot of twists and curves in the way of financial issues. Please help in any way you can! Thanks.

Asked on 1/08/04, 4:15 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jonathan Schiff Self employed
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Re: Need advice on family security, common law marriage, etc.

As for the common law marriage part, Ohio abandoned it a number of years ago. In part that was probably due to situations like the one you have described.

Anyway, the biological parent of a child has certain fundamental rights with respect to the child that take precedence over all other individuals that may be interested in the child or involved in the care of the child.

In other words, your rights prevail over any that the step-mother may have in the event there would be a custody contest (unless you are proven to be "unfit").

Parents have a right to custody and/or visitation with their children. Parents also have an obligation to support their children. As to what you should do to protect yourself, it's hard to advise without knowing what it is you want to protect yourself from or knowing your particular circumstances.

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1/10/04, 12:02 pm

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