Establishing Paternity

Establishing Paternity for Your Child

Paternity refers to a legal relationship between a child and a father. A support order cannot be issued until paternity is established. It can be established anytime before a child turns 23, even if the other parent is in jail or lives in another state or foreign country.

Ways to establish paternity:

  • Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit: This form is available at the hospital when your child is born or at your Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). Both parents must complete the form and it must be notarized. It is a voluntary way for people to admit to being a child's biological parents.
  • Genetic Testing: A test is performed on the child, mother and alleged father(s). It involves swabbing skin cells from the inside of the mouth. For paternity to be established, the test must show a 99% probability of paternity. The CSEA or court would issue a paternity order based on these results. Failure to cooperate with the CSEA can lead to court action, public assistance sanctions or dismissal of the case.
  • Marriage: Paternity is presumed if parties were married at the time of the child's birth or if the child was born within 300 days after death, divorce or dissolution. Anyone can challenge this at their support hearing, which would lead to the ordering of genetic testing.

If paternity is established by Acknowledgement or Genetic Testing (PDF), results will be forwarded to the Central Paternity Registry.

Benefits of establishing paternity include:

  • Inheritance rights
  • Access to medical history
  • Right to collect veteran's and Social Security Benefits

You can learn more about the benefits of establishing paternity by viewing this brochure. You can also view frequently asked questions on paternity in Ohio.

Genetic Testing Lab

Monday through Friday through 8:30 am to 4 pm. Your Montgomery County CSEA is located at:

The Job Center
1111 S Edwin C. Moses Boulevard
Dayton, OH 45422