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Petroff Law Offices Featured on Daytime Columbus

Robyn [0:00–0:24]: "When we have a health concern, finding a doctor who specializes in your issue is a priority. The same should be said when it comes to fighting for your legal rights. So today, I'm happy to be joined by Ron Petroff, from Petroff Law Offices, where they specialize in family law. And we were talking earlier, Ron, that there are a lot of issues that go into family law, right? This would be an area that has a slew of concerns with it..."

Ron [0:25–0:38]: "That's right. At our firm, we handle divorce, adoption, post decree modification, prenuptial agreements, as well as child support modification. So the umbrella of 'family law' covers a bunch of different topics."

Robyn [0:39–0:50]: "You said there aren't many law practices like yours that really specialize in this, and that is part of the importance in getting that out there, is finding someone who can really help you in your situation."

Ron [0:51–1:23]: "That's right. There aren't a lot of firms with multiple attorneys in the area that only practice in family law. A lot of attorneys who dabble in family law also practice in criminal law, probate, and other areas, but there aren't a lot of attorneys who've decided to focus their entire practice on family law. —those are the ones that have a very strong command of the law, and the procedures, and the courts."

Robyn [1:24–1:37]: "Absolutely. Today we're going to get into a child custody issue, what could be. And that's what happens when a child is born out of wedlock., the parents aren't married. First of all, what happens in that case when they have a child? What happens first when that child is born?"

Ron [1:38–2:31]: "Sure. Robyn, it's interesting, because a lot of people are surprised to know that, when a child is born out of wedlock, even if the father is on the birth certificate, even if the biology has been agreed upon, the father has no legal rights to the child that's born. The father has to proactively motion the court in the county where either the child or the mother reside and ask that the court establish certain legal rights as it relates to visitation, custody, and support. And it's interesting because a lot of people are surprised to know that. The flip side of that, often times mothers want some type of document, paper, or something with the judges signature on it, that says they have sole custody. In the state of Ohio, that doesn't actually exist, because the mother is the presumptive sole custodian when a child is born and the mother and father are not married."

Robyn [2:32–2:39]: "Ok. So when a father is trying [to get custody] then would the first step be to establish paternity? Is that what a lot of fathers would need to do then?"

Ron [2:40–3:38]: "So that's a great question, Robyn. There's actually a two-step process. Paternity is the first step. A lot of times that step is done in the hospital when a child is born and the mother and father are both together at birth. Often times a social worker or another individual will come to the hospital room and have some paperwork from the office of vital statistics for the father and mother to sign. The father signs the birth signs the birth certificate, and that is one of several ways paternity can be established. Another is a DNA test ordered by the court. So whenever your present your situation to an attorney who specializes or practices family law in juvenile custody (aka 'unmarried mother custody cases'), the first step is, has paternity been established? The second step, once paternity has been established, is to motion the court to obtain rights for the father. The mother is the default custodian in the state of Ohio when the parents are not married. Some people are surprised to know that because some of our neighboring states have different laws."

Robyn [3:39–3:54]: "So it can get dicy then if the parents do not stay together, then you've got to go through this process and fight to see your child, I'm guessing, right? Because after that you think about child support and visitation. Are all of these kind of combined in this issue?"

Ron [3:55–4:45]: "So that's another great point. And a great segway into one of the things I wanted to talk about today, and that is often times child support is established administratively. This is another area of the law that folks are surprised to learn about—that they (fathers typically) can be ordered to pay child support through this child support enforcement agency in the county in which the mother resides. They can be paying child support, but still not have any rights to see the child. And that is why it is very important for fathers, who want to have legal rights, not determined by the mother's whims, but determined by the courts, have to proactively motion the court and file a complaint to establish a parent child relationship in the county in which the mother or child resides. Otherwise, you could still be paying child support, and the mother dictate all of the shots."

Robyn [4:46–5:01]": Alright, and you don't want that to happen when you want to be involved in your child's life. So finding somebody who has this kind of expertise is really vital. You can get ahold of Ron and his team online or by calling (614) 222-4288 if you have any concerns involving family relations at all. So, thank you so much."

Ron [5:02–5:05]: "Absolutely, it was a pleasure to be on."

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