Skip to main content
x

Child Support Paternity Establishment

Paternity Establishment Fact Sheet

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of establishing fatherhood (paternity)?

Establishing parenthood may:

  • Provide legal, emotional, social, and economic ties between a parent and child.
  • Enable a child to find out about medical problems that may run in the family.
  • Allow a child to qualify as a dependent for the parent's disability, retirement, death, or veteran's benefits.
  • Identify a child as a next-of-kin for an inheritance.
  • Lead to the establishment of a child support order.

 

How does paternity get established?

  • Genetic testing done by buccal swab in the mouth. 
  • The parents may sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit for the child.  The Affidavit is final sixty days following the last signature.  This option is not available if the mother is married to another person or if an Affidavit has already been filed for the child.
  • If you were married at the time of birth, or if you and the other parent have signed an Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit that is not yet final, there is presumption of paternity. 
  • A man that has been served with an order to appear for genetic testing, but fails to appear, may have paternity established in his absence by the court.

If genetic testing is ordered, who pays for it?

When genetic testing hasn't been previously done, and is ordered by the child support enforcement agency (CSEA), it is paid for by the CSEA. When the court orders genetic testing, the court may order the person that requested the genetic testing to pay for it.  However, a custodial parent that receives Ohio Works First benefits will not be ordered to pay for genetic testing and a non-custodial parent that is found to be indigent will not be ordered to pay for genetic testing.

If I establish paternity for my child does that automatically give the father visitation rights?

No, visitation is a separate matter and is handled by the court.

How do I change the name of the father on the child's birth certificate?

If the name of the father needs changed on the birth certificate because the "Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit" becomes final and enforceable, the Central Paternity Registry (CPR) will notify the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and ODH will change the birth certificate. If the name of the father needs changed on the birth certificate because of genetic testing results and the child support enforcement agency (CSEA) ordered the genetic testing, the CSEA will notify the Central Paternity Registry (CPR). CPR will notify the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and ODH will change the birth certificate. If the name of the father needs changed on the birth certificate because the court determined paternity or for another reason, you will need to seek legal advice on how to get the birth certificate changed. The CSEA is not authorized to help you in these situations.

 

How do I change the name of the child on the child's birth certificate?

If both parents agree to change the last name of the child on the birth certificate because of genetic testing results and the child support enforcement agency (CSEA) orders genetic testing, the CSEA will notify the Central Paternity Registry (CPR) that the last name of the child needs to be changed on the birth certificate.  CPR will notify the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) of the child's new last name and ODH will change the birth certificate. The CSEA can only do this when both parents agree to change the child's last name.  The CSEA is not authorized to make any changes to the child's first name or middle name.

If both parents want to change the last name of the child on the birth certificate and the parents are signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit, the parents must write the child's new last name on the affidavit.

If the name of the child on the birth certificate needs changed based on a court order, because you just want your child's name changed, or because you want to change your child's first name or middle name, you will need to seek legal advice on how to get the birth certificate changed. The CSEA is not authorized to help you in these situations.