Under ORC 3111.13, once paternity is established a court may require a parent to pay retroactive support by determining all relevant factors, including, but not limited to, any monetary contribution either parent of the child made to the support of the child prior to the court issuing the order requiring the parent to pay current support. A court shall not require retroactive support or expenses of the mother’s pregnancy where 1) at the time of filing for parentage determination, the child was over three years of age and 2) prior to the filing the alleged father had no knowledge and no reason to have knowledge of his alleged paternity. To rebut, the mother must only show by a preponderance of the evidence that she performed “reasonable and ed” efforts to contact and notify the alleged father.
The primary defenses of a father once paternity is established to argue against retroactive support/birthing expenses are the doctrines of laches and waiver. Laches is an omission to assert a right for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, under circumstances prejudicial to the adverse party. The person asserting the defense must show he has been materially prejudiced by the delay. For example, he provided support outside of a court order for which he has records to prove or he received no benefit from being a father during the child’s formative years, i.e. the child is much older when child support is established.
Waiver is the voluntary surrender or relinquishment of a known right or intentionally doing an act inconsistent with an assertion of that right. This is an agreement supported by consideration which benefits the promisor or disadvantages the promise.