Ohio

Paternity Enhancement Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit

Where can I go to fill out an Affidavit?
The father is out of state and won't be able to sign the Affidavit with me. Can I send it to him?
What happens if the father does not sign the Affidavit?
What if I change my mind after I sign the Affidavit?
Can the parents complete an Affidavit if neither one is a U.S. citizen?
If the parents sign the Affidavit, does the father have the right to take the child away from the mother?
If the parents sign the Affidavit, will the Child Support Enforcement Agency start to collect support?
How do I get proof we signed an Affidavit until the new birth certificate is ready?
The father of my child is a under age 18. Can he sign the Affidavit?

Genetic Testing

How do I get genetic testing?
How much does genetic testing cost?
We're not sure if he's the father, but he wants to be on the birth certificate. What should we do?
How old does my child need to be to have genetic testing?
The father is out of state. How can we get genetic testing?

Special Situations

The father is taking care of the child but has not been legally established as the father. The mother is not available to sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit. How can he establish paternity?
The father is deceased. How can I prove that he is the father?
I'm getting a divorce. My husband is not the father of my child, so why is the hospital telling me I have to put his name on the birth certificate? The real father is here and he wants to be on the birth certificate.
We want to change the child's name. How can we do that?

 

 


Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit

Where can I go to fill out an Affidavit?

At the time of birth, the parents may complete the Affidavit at the hospital. Afterwards, the Affidavit can be completed at the health department or the CSEA. Click here for the phone number and address of the health department(s) and CSEA in your county.

 

The father is out of state and won't be able to sign the Affidavit with me. Can I send it to him?

Yes. After he completes his section and gets his signature notarized, he can send the Affidavit directly to the Central Paternity Registry. The mailing address appears on the Affidavit under the "Notice of Rights and Responsibilities and Due Process Safeguards". Affidavits must be sent within ten days of the last signature.

 

What happens if the father does not sign the Affidavit?

At the hospital, both parents may complete and sign the Affidavit to establish paternity for a child born to an unmarried mother. If both parents do not sign the Affidavit, the father's name will not go on the birth certificate and the child has no legal father at that time. Since the Affidavit must be signed by both biological parents, if either one chooses not to, paternity cannot be established by this method. However, the parents may choose to establish paternity at a later time.

 

What if I change my mind after I sign the Affidavit?

Either person who signed the Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit may bring an action to rescind it within 60 days of the last signature on the Affidavit. The Child Support Enforcement Agency where the child or the guardian or legal custodian of the child resides can assist with this process. It involves filling out a rescission form, signing up for genetic testing, and completing genetic testing. The CSEA will issue an order of paternity based on the results of the genetic tests.

After the 60 day period, the only way to rescind the Affidavit is to bring a court action to rescind within one year after it has become final. A man presumed to be the father of the child under Ohio law who did not sign the acknowledgment, either person who signed the acknowledgment, or a guardian or legal custodian of the child may bring an action to rescind the affidavit on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact.

 

Can the parents complete an Affidavit if neither one is a U.S. citizen?

Yes, as long as the child was born in Ohio, or one or both of the parents live in Ohio.

 

If the parents sign the Affidavit, does the father have the right to take the child away from the mother?

Under Ohio Revised Code, if a child is born to an unmarried mother, the mother is the sole residential parent and legal guardian of the child unless a court order is issued. After the parents establish paternity, the father may petition the court for visitation or for custody.

 

If the parents sign the Affidavit, will the Child Support Enforcement Agency start to collect support?

Both parents have a duty to provide for their child. If either parent requests a child support order, or if the custodial parent is on certain types of public assistance, a child support order will be created.

 

How do I get proof we signed an Affidavit until the new birth certificate is ready?

You may obtain a certified copy of an Affidavit. The Ohio Department of Health/Vital Statistics Office issues the certified copies. Click here for directions on obtaining a certified copy.

 

The father of my child is a under age 18. Can he sign the Affidavit?

Yes. Minor parents can sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit. Before paternity Affidavits were utilized, minors were allowed to sign birth certificates.

 

Genetic Testing

How do I get genetic testing?

Unmarried parents may obtain genetic testing through the local Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). Parents should request the testing in the mother's county of residence. Click here to locate the CSEA for the mother's county. After getting the results of the genetic tests, the CSEA will issue an order of establishment or non-establishment of paternity. The CSEA can also submit paperwork to change the child's birth certificate accordingly.

 

How much does genetic testing cost?

When the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) is establishing paternity, the genetic material (blood or cheek cells) is generally collected at the CSEA. The CSEA pays for the test initially, but may request that the father reimburses the CSEA for the test later on. The cost for these tests is relatively inexpensive. You should discuss this with the CSEA.

 

We're not sure if he's the father, but he wants to be on the birth certificate. What should we do?

If either parent is unsure if a man is the father of the child, they should consider pursuing genetic testing. The Affidavit should not be used unless both parents are certain that the man is the biological father.

 

How old does my child need to be to have genetic testing?

Genetic testing can be performed on newborns. All of Ohio's CSEAs can perform buccal swab testing, which takes a sample from the inside of the cheek instead of a blood sample.

 

The father is out of state. How can we get genetic testing?

The mother may contact the CSEA in her county for assistance in obtaining genetic testing when the father lives out of state.

 

Special Situations

The father is taking care of the child but has not been legally established as the father. The mother is not available to sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit. How can he establish paternity?

The Affidavit is a voluntary form to be completed by both biological parents. If either parent is unavailable or unwilling to sign the Affidavit, the other parent may pursue paternity establishment through genetic testing at the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) or through court.

 

The father is deceased. How can I prove that he is the father?

You may contact your local CSEA to see if they can assist you. You may need to pursue the matter through court. Click here to locate the CSEA for your county.

 

I'm getting a divorce. My husband is not the father of my child, so why is the hospital telling me I have to put his name on the birth certificate? The real father is here and he wants to be on the birth certificate.

In Ohio, if a woman is married at the time of birth or at any time during the 300 days prior to birth, the husband is considered to be the legal father of the child. The hospital may not put the "real"/biological father's name on the birth certificate.

However, if the mother got divorced during her pregnancy, and the divorce decree states that the husband is not the father of the child, the mother should provide the hospital with a copy of the finalized divorce decree at the time of her child's birth. The mother and the biological father may then complete an Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit at the hospital if they wish.

 

We want to change the child's name. How can we do that?

If the parents are establishing paternity using the Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit, they may change the child's name on the Affidavit. The child's original name should be filled in on the first line of the Affidavit, and "Yes" should be checked next to the question "If a birth certificate for the child has already been filed, do you now wish to change the child's name?" The child's new name should be entered where it asks "If "YES", give the child's new name." (Please note: This form can only be used if the parents have not already established paternity through any method.)

If the parents have already established paternity, they need to do the following: