Unlike married parents, if the parents to a child or children were never married at the time the child(ren) were born, then there is no presumption that the male is the “legal” father. While the male may in fact be the “biological” father to the child, the law affords him no parental rights until he is established as the “legal” father. Or, in other words, until he establishes “paternity”. Until paternity is establishes by the putative father, the father will have no legal right to parenting time with the child, nor will he have the obligation to pay child support. Even once paternity is established, the mother remains the “sole residential custodian of the child”, and the father may still need to procure a court order granting him parenting time and or custody.

Paternity is establishes by one of the following ways:

  • Presumption of Paternity, §3111.03: The father is presumed to be the legal father if the child was born during marriage to the mother, or within 300 days of termination of the marriage or separation.
  • Paternity Established at or near Time of Birth, §3111.21—28: The father establishes his paternity at the time of birth by signing the “Acknowledgement of Paternity” affidavit and mailing to the Centralized Paternity Registry.
  • Paternity Established Administratively, §3111.38—53: Paternity can be administratively established through the Child Support Enforcement Agency in the county where the parent resides by request of either party.
  • Paternity Established through Juvenile Court: If paternity is not established in one of the above ways, either party can file with the juvenile court in the county where they reside a “Complaint for Paternity”, wherein the parties will either acknowledge paternity or be ordered to submit to DNA tests to determine paternity.

Whether you are a mother seeking to establish paternity in order to seek child support, or a father seeking to exercise your parental rights, Contact Cavinder Law Office and paternity attorney Jason Cavinder to assist you. We can assess your unique situation and provide you with answers. The consultation is free and confidential. Or, if you simply have questions relating to issues of paternity, we are ready to help. We can be reached by telephone at (937) 751-4949, or by email at

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