"If a child is born to unmarried parents, then under Ohio law, the mother has sole custody."
In case you missed it, Khloé Kardashian officially gave birth on April 12th, welcoming her first child, a baby girl, with boyfriend Tristan Thompson. We are so excited for Khloé, and as we patiently await more details (as well as an official statement from Khloé herself) there are a lot of unanswered questions about Khloé and Tristan at this time, especially in the wake of rumors that Tristan cheated on Khloé during her pregnancy.
We know that Khloé gave birth at a hospital near Cleveland, Ohio, where Tristan plays basketball for the Cleveland Cavaliers. And while we don’t know what the status of their relationship will be going forward, we do know there is plenty of speculation, with some reports suggesting that Khloé has already forgiven Tristan and that they will remain a couple. However, other reports suggest that the family has already prepped Khloé for a move back to Los Angeles as soon as it’s safe for her and the baby to travel, which indicates that the general public is pretty much in the dark.
Though Tristan was in the delivery room when Khloé gave birth, we couldn’t help but wonder who will get custody of their baby girl should they go their separate ways as a couple.
According to Ohio’s child custody rights, it seems Khloé currently has sole custody of her daughter.
Katie Arthurs, Principal Attorney at McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman, a law firm in Cleveland, told HollywoodLife, “If a child is born to unmarried parents, then under Ohio law, the mother has sole custody. It is then up to the father to file with the court to establish paternity, custody/shared-parenting, and/or visitation rights.”
And we confirmed with Ohio’s official legal codes that this is, in fact, true. According to Ohio state law, “An unmarried female who gives birth to a child is the sole residential parent and legal custodian of the child until a court of competent jurisdiction issues an order designating another person as the residential parent and legal custodian.”
Though Ohio law recognizes Tristan as an “equal” parent, he will have to file with the court in order to obtain visitation and parenting rights. “A court designating the residential parent and legal custodian of a child described in this section shall treat the mother and father as standing upon an equality when making the designation,” according to the codes.
However, everything could change should Khloé decide to permanently move back to Los Angeles, as L.A. is its own jurisdiction with differing codes.
According to Arthurs, “A court’s jurisdiction depends on what state is the child’s ‘home state.’ If a child is born in Ohio, and continues to reside in Ohio, then the father may petition for custody and visitation rights in Ohio. However, if the child moves to another state, and resides in that state for at least six months, then that other state may have jurisdiction over custody.”
Whatever happens in the future for Khloé, Tristan, and their baby girl, we wish them the best. We’re sure that Khloé has tons of support from her family and friends, and we hope that both parties come to an agreement that works best for them and their little one.