Paternity establishment refers to the legal determination of being named as the father of a child.
The paternity establishment process is available at any time before the child turns 23 years of age. It can be established in the following ways: The voluntary acknowledgment process refers to completion of a form known as an "Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit." You can complete this at the hospital when your child is born, before both parents leave the hospital. It can also be completed at the CSEA or your local Vital Statistics Registrar.
If a case is contested or if there is some doubt as to the parentage of the child, either parent may request that the CSEA conduct genetic testing to determine the father of the child. The CSEA will then order all parties to submit to genetic testing and will issue an administrative paternity order based on the outcome of the genetic test. For a paternity order to be established, the test must show at least a 99% probability of fatherhood. If either party fails to submit to the test or fails to submit the child for genetic testing, the CSEA may initiate court proceedings to determine the paternity of the child.
Watch a video on the Paternity Establishment Process in Ohio.
Additional information regarding establishing paternity via the acknowledgment of paternity affidavit or genetic testing is available at the Department of Job and Family Services website.