Serving the greater Columbus, Franklin county and Central Ohio areas.

Schedule a consultation

Columbus Ohio Paternity Attorneys

Family Law specialists with over 59 years of experience.

There are a couple of reasons why individuals seek to establish their own or someone else’s paternity through the courts. Maybe a father is seeking to establish their relationship with a child. Maybe a mother is seeking the support of a father who isn’t sure that the child is his. Maybe a man is being told that a child is his when it really belongs to another. The dedicated Columbus paternity attorneys at the Lawrence Law Office can help in any of these situations. If you have questions about this process, consider the following information about Ohio paternity laws and how they can impact crucial aspects of your situation, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for assistance.

Paternity in Ohio: The Basics

If a child is born to a married mother, the father is presumed to be the mother’s husband. While either the mother or the father can challenge this presumption in court, the presumption nonetheless stands unless proven otherwise. However, if the mother is not married to the father the mother is considered to be the sole custodian of the child. In order to establish rights to the child, the father must establish their paternity in a court of law.

In some cases, a father can establish paternity by signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit. This presumes that the mother wants the father to establish his paternity. In other cases, the father can establish his paternity through a genetic test.

It is important to understand, however, that establishing paternity alone does not give the father custody or visitation rights to the child. Even paying child support does not entitle a father to visitation time. In order to establish these rights to the child, the father must petition the court for custody, shared parenting time, or visitation rights to the child.

Mothers Who Want to Establish a Man is the Father

In some cases, it will be the mother who will petition the court to establish that a certain man is the father. The mother may do this for the purpose of getting child support from a man who refuses to take responsibility for his child. In this case, the mother will have to initiate a paternity lawsuit against the father.

Fathers Who Want to Establish Their Parental Rights

In some cases, it’s the father who wants to establish his parental rights to a child. If the mother is on board with establishing the man as the father, then all he would have to do is voluntarily sign an affidavit establishing his paternity. If not, then the father will have to initiate a paternity lawsuit against the mother.

Initiating a Paternity Lawsuit

There are three separate agents who can bring a paternity lawsuit forward. Those are: the father, the mother, or the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). In cases where either the mother or the child is receiving assistance from the state, the CSEA may push forward to establish the paternity of the child in order to ensure that the child and the mother have the resources they need. In order to do this, the courts must establish the child’s paternity.

When the CSEA gets involved, they generally order everyone to submit to genetic testing. With the results in hand and the outcome certain, cases involving the CSEA generally do not go to court. Other times, one party may not agree with the results and the case will press forward. A judge will then decide on the paternity of the child.

Establishing Paternity with Your Girlfriend or Boyfriend

Not every couple is interested in the institution of marriage. For instance, domestic partners or those in close romantic relationships who aren’t ready for marriage or don’t want to get married may want to establish the paternity of the child. In these cases, it’s much easier. The father need only sign an affidavit establishing that he is the father of the child. Most couples will do this as it establishes the father’s legal right to the child.

Can I Recover Child Support for a Child that Wasn’t Mine?

This topic is a can of worms. Suffice it say, the time to contest a child’s paternity is not after it has been established. Once a father has voluntarily signed off on the paternity of the child, establishes a relationship with the child, and acts as the parent of the child, attempting to go after the mother for past child support is very difficult. Unless the mother can be shown to have defrauded the father in some way by presenting fake genetic proof or something along those lines, the father will likely not be able to recover child support paid to the mother and may be on the hook for continued support.

Client Reviews

Had free consultation. Advice given was taken, and resulted in change of mind in the other/opposing party. We therefore did not need to retain. Should opposing party resume original opinion, we will retain.


I was in a terrible custody dispute with my ex. I was very upset and afraid of my ex. Rodd listened to everything I said and remembered everything I said. He was aggressive in court and used the information I gave him very well. We won the case and my ex has backed off.


I wanted an easy divorce from my wife. She wanted a fight. Rodd and I discussed fair terms for a dissolution. Because he was pro active and stayed on top of the case, my wife and I finally reached an agreement and had a dissolution. I highly recommend Rodd.


I hired Linda Lawrence because I have a business and I wanted to protect it in my divorce. Linda is top notch and knows about business finance and assets. I was able to keep my business and not have to pay my wife anything from it. Hire her.


I hired Linda Lawrence because I needed an aggressive attorney. Linda was able to stand up against the other attorney and was very aggressive in court. It was an expensive divorce case, but that was because the other attorney was very aggressive and Linda was very thorough. I had great results in my case and highly recommend Linda.


Talk to a Columbus Paternity Attorney

The Lawrence Law Office helps Columbus couples establish paternity or individual parents force another parent to acknowledge their relationship to a child. Give us a call or talk to us online for more information.

Contact us

Our Practice Areas

Family Law

Attorneys for Divorce, Child Custody & More At the Lawrence Law Office, we are committed to helping families in conflict find creative solutions that focus on addressing their goals and...


Columbus & Delaware, OH Divorce Lawyers In Ohio, there is more than one way to separate from your partner and dissolve your marriage. A divorce is typically a contested proceeding, with each side...

Contempt and
Enforcement and
Post divorce

When working through your divorce with an Ohio family law attorney, chances are your divorce agreement made allowances for child support. spousal support or

Business owner

Dividing the marital assets between divorcing people can be one of the most contentious issues during the entire divorce process. Ohio law allows the couple to work together with...

Child Custody

Dividing the marital assets between divorcing people can be one of the most contentious issues during the entire divorce process. Ohio law allows the couple to work together with...

High Asset
Divorce Cases

Helping With Child Custody, Visitation & Support Updates Or Modifications Sometimes circumstances substantially change after a divorce and require parents to revisit an existing...


Lawrence Recent Blog Posts

September 17, 2021 in Divorce

What Is A QDRO & How Does It Affect My Divorce Case?

If you are going through a divorce, or you are considering starting the process, you may already be familiar with the term “QDRO.” If you…
Read More
September 17, 2021 in Adoption

Are Ohio Adoption Laws Different For LGBTQ Couples vs. Heterosexual Couples?

Same-sex couples in Ohio have the same rights to adopt a child as heterosexual couples. However, the process is always a difficult one, regardless of…
Read More
June 28, 2021 in High Asset Divorce

The 3 Most FAQ’s Concerning High End Asset Divorces

People going through a divorce already have a lot of questions. When a divorce involves high end assets, the number of questions you have may…
Read More
June 22, 2021 in High Asset Divorce

Common Mistakes Made During A High End Asset Divorce

Divorces that involve a couple with a number of high end assets are incredibly complicated due to the fact that the assets must be located,…
Read More