When it comes to your rights as a father, few considerations are as important as paternity. The state of Ohio needs to recognize you as the legal or biological father of a child if you want to have time with them or any say in the major matters of their life.
If you have a falling out with the mother of your child, successfully establishing paternity will be a crucial step on the path toward shared custody. What are the three main ways for a man to establish paternity in Ohio?
Be married to the mother of the child
There is a presumption of paternity that works in the favor of married fathers. The state presumes that a man married to a woman who has a child or who is pregnant at the time that they file for divorce is the child’s father. Unless either of you takes steps to prove otherwise, your name should automatically go on the birth certificate.
Fill out paperwork with the mother
Plenty of unmarried couples choose to have children together. If the mother of your child acknowledges that you are the child’s biological father, you can fill out paperwork together to have your name added to the child’s birth certificate once the child is born.
Go to family court
If the mother of your child does not want to acknowledge you as the father, you can ask the family courts for support. The Ohio family courts can order genetic testing that can establish paternity within a very small margin of error. You will then be able to file a request for custody rights or, at least, visitation.
Learning how to establish paternity will help you play a more active role in the life of your child.