How to Establish Paternity in Ohio

In Ohio, if the parents to a child or children were married at the time they were born, then the husband is presumed to be the father of the children born during the marriage. The husband and wife will automatically be the residential parents and legal custodians of that child.

If the parents to a child or children were never married at the time they were born, then the male is not presumed to be the father of the child. In order for the male to have any legal relationship to the child, a court must issue an order establishing that a father-child relationship exists.

Fathers' Rights and Responsibilities

Until a court establishes a legal relationship between the father and child, the father will have no legal right to parenting time or child support obligations. The unmarried father should consult with a lawyer to file a complaint to establish father-child relationship.

If the father has not established his paternity of the child, then he will be listed on the putative father registry. A putative father is a man who may be a child’s biological father but who is not married to the child’s mother at the time the child is born or who has not established paternity of the child in a court or administrative proceeding.

If the mother wishes to seek child support for her child, then she must prove to the court that the person she claims to be the father is, in fact, the father of the child. Either the father could acknowledge that he is the father of the child or the court can request the alleged father to submit a DNA sample to be tested to determine if he is the father of the child. Only after the legal father-child relationship is established, can the father be required to pay child support.

Family Law Attorneys in Portage and Summit Counties

Whether you are a mother seeking to establish paternity so that you may seek child support or you are a father looking to establish a legal father-child relationship so you can receive parental rights, Attorneys Heather Johnston and Eli Heller can assist you in that matter. They handle all issues relating to Domestic Relations and Paternity Cases.

You can contact them at 330-296-8000 (Ravenna Office) and 330-686-2890 (Stow Office) for a free consultation. No obligation.


The website is designed for general information only. Any information on this site is not to be construed as formal legal advice from a criminal defense lawyer, a DUI lawyer, a family law lawyer or wills, probate, trusts and estate planning lawyer, nor formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Persons accessing this site are encouraged to seek personal advice regarding their individual legal issues.

The attorneys in our law firm primarily service Portage County courts (Ravenna and Kent), and Summit County courts (Akron, Stow, Barberton). Cases in all other courts in North East Ohio, including Cuyahoga County courts (Cleveland, Garfield Heights, Bedford, Parma, Rocky River etc...) are handled under specific terms and conditions.