If you were not legally married to your child’s father when your child was born, you must legally prove the identity of the father before you can get a court order for child support. In Ohio, paternity can be established until the child reaches age 23. Establishing paternity benefits your child in several ways:

  • It provides a sense of identity for your child
  • It completes your child’s biological medical history
  • It helps you get health insurance through the father’s employer
  • It establishes legal rights for your child, such as access to:
    • Inheritance
    • Veteran’s benefits
    • Social Security benefits
    • Disability benefits
    • Lottery winnings
  • It establishes a legal basis for custody
  • It establishes a legal basis for the court to order support payments

Note: By law, visitation and custody are separate issues from child support and not handled by child support services. Domestic Relations and Juvenile Court are responsible for determining visitation and custody matters.

What You Need to Know About Establishing Paternity

There are two (2) ways to establish paternity:

  1. An unwed mother and father may come to the agency to sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit which is a legal document to establish paternity. Both parties must provide photo identification and the child’s birth certificate and sign the document before a notary.
  2. The second method of establishing paternity is through DNA genetic testing. A mouth swab is performed on all parties. The results will be mailed to the parties. If you have not received your genetic testing results, or if you have missed your genetic testing date, please contact your worker.

DNA Genetic Testing

Even if you are not currently applying for child support, Child Support Services can help you and the father establish paternity. The mother, alleged father and the child(ren) can call to schedule testing.