Establishment of Paternity

In Ohio, paternity between a father and a child can be established by an acknowledgement of paternity filed with the Ohio Department of Health and Human Services at the time of the child's birth, an administrative establishment of paternity through a County Child Support Enforcement Agency, or a court order establishing paternity through a divorce or juvenile paternity case. Sometimes, this involves DNA testing to determine whether paternity exists and sometimes the parties acknowledge paternity without DNA testing.

A common misconception is that being listed as the child's father on the child's birth certificate is the same as a legal establishment of paternity. Although this establishes a "presumption" of paternity, it does not establish legal paternity. The distinction is important because when a child is born outside of a marriage, a father has no legally recognized relationship with the child until paternity is legally established.