Establishing Paternity

When a child is born it’s common to assume that the woman who gave birth to the child is the mother, and the man she’s married to or dating is the father. In most cases this is true. However, Ohio law sees this differently. Officially and legally recognizing a child as the child of a man (called “establishing paternity”) is done in basically two ways: Presumption and Court Acknowledgement.

The simplest way to establish paternity is to be married to the mother of your child at the time of the child’s birth. When a man and woman are married, and the woman has a child, there is a presumption that the child is the husband’s as well. This means that the man doesn’t have to do anything extra to show that the child is his. We assume that it’s his because they’re married. The only way to overcome this presumption is to file an action in court and prove by clear and convincing evidence that the child is someone else’s.

If a couple is not married at the time of birth the father must testify that the child is his. This is done by simply signing an affidavit and the birth certificate in the hospital. Doing this establishes paternity so that the only way to prove otherwise is to file a motion in court and prove so.

If a couple is not married at the time of birth, and the father is not around to testify that the child is his, then he must take extra action to prove paternity. The most common way is by genetic testing. The test compares the DNA of the child and the alleged father to see if there’s a match. If there is, then the Court will use that as evidence that the child is indeed his. Most of the time, this is the only evidence needed. Genetic testing almost always proves paternity; however, you can fight the results as well.

In rare circumstances paternity cannot be established through genetic testing. If this occurs, then the alleged father must bring in other evidence to show that the child is his. There are numerous ways to do so, such as having family members testify that there has always been a father-child relationship, the father claiming the child as a dependent, the physical similarities of the child and the father, and any other evidence that can show paternity. This method is extremely rare and requires a tremendous amount of work and preparation.

If you are fighting for your rights to see your child and paternity has not been established contact us today to see how we can help.