Legal Question in Family Law in Ohio

Res Judicata and Paternity


In 1990, I established paternity for a child by affidavit in a KY District court. I never saw the child after her first week of birth because of the uncooperation of the mother and her family. I began to question paternity and the case went back to the same court in early 1996. The court ordered genetic tests, but the mother did not comply and it was never done. My paternity was disestablished, the case dismissed, and an Order for Relief was issued for past (arrears, etc) and future reference.

Recently, nearly 14 years later, her brother Ė in Union County Ohio - is seeking custody and has named me as the father. The issue of paternity is once again being brought before the court. Questions: Does the prior case and order for relief have any bearing on the current case? Does Civil Rule Procedure 60B apply, and res judicata? Once paternal rights are disestablished, can they be reestablished?

They have raised this issue at a time when I can least afford good counsel Ė Iím a full-time graduate student with a year to go on a Masterís in Industrial Technology. Itís all about the money they think they can Ė and probably will - get from me (he does not work, and never will), and is not about the child.

Asked on 1/21/04, 6:50 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Philip Owens Philip M. Owens, Attorney at Law

Re: Res Judicata and Paternity

There are several issues that the Ohio Court can consider. First it is important to obtain a certified copy of the orders in the Kentucky case and file it as an exhibit in the Ohio case. It is still possible that a paternity test be ordered. If it turns out that you are the father, then the record in the Kentucky case may prevent an arrearage judgment. I cannot tell you for certain, since I am not familiar with Ohio law but the Ohio Court has a duty to at least review the outcome of the Kentucky case. Remember, the Kentucky case did not establish parentage. The failure of the mother to cooperate only led the Kentucky court to dismiss your previous "affidavit of paternity". It probably did not find that you were "not" the father. This probably can still be done if she is willing to cooperate. If you are proven the father of the child, the Ohio court will more than likely order support but may, in light of the Kentucky proceedings not hold you to arrearage. You need to consult an attorney in Union County or nearby to get his/her input. They practice there and know the territory.

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Answered on 1/21/04, 10:29 pm

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