A support order cannot be established for a child who is born to unmarried parents until the alleged father acknowledges paternity or is proven to be the father. Paternity can be established by the signing of a document to be filed with the court acknowledging paternity or, in some cases, an Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit which is filed with the Ohio Central Paternity Registry. If the alleged father or mother are uncertain as to parentage, genetic testing can be arranged at a laboratory which is certified to perform such tests. In many instances, genetic testing is available through the Child Support office at no cost to the parents. Paternity can be established by agreement or by court orders.
Paternity establishment can provide basic emotional, social and economic ties between a father and his child. Once paternity is established legally, a child gains legal rights and privileges. Among these may be rights to inheritance, access to medical history and to other benefits such as veterans or Social Security.