Jump to website navigationJump to page content
Home Contact Us About Us Report Child Abuse & Neglect, 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week 330.455.KIDS

Child Support Services Paternity Establishment

Paternity Establishment is the legal determination of fatherhood.  Paternity establishment is important for many reasons.  For children born outside of marriage, paternity establishment is the essential first step necessary for the establishment of a child and medical support order.  Paternity establishment also gives your child a sense of identity and belonging, makes medical histories of both parents more accessible and the child will have the ability to obtain financial resources from the father’s social security or veterans benefits. 

Father with kids

Paternity can be established through presumption, voluntary acknowledgment, or by having genetic testing conducted. A presumption of paternity is when a man is presumed to be the child’s legal father because the child is born while the mother is still married to the man or because the child is born 300 days after the marriage ends.  There is a longstanding legal presumption that a child born in the context of a marriage is the child of that couple.

Voluntary acknowledgement is when parents acknowledge paternity by completing a notarized form or affidavit at the hospital, local health department or at the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). The signing of the voluntary acknowledgement is voluntary.The affidavit cannot be used as an acknowledgement of paternity if another man is legally presumed to be the father due to marriage or if there is already an acknowledgement on file.

What if I sign the acknowledgment but now think I am not the dad?

Either parent may rescind the acknowledgement no later than 60 days after the date of the latest signature by:

  • Requesting the CSEA, in the county where the mother and child reside, to conduct genetic testing, or by delivering a written notice to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Office of Child Support, Central Paternity Registry.
  • After the 60-day time period, the only way for either parent to rescind the acknowledgement is to bring a private court action to rescind. This must be accomplished within in one year after paternity was established.

Can paternity be established if the alleged father lives in another state, is incarcerated or does not appear for testing?

Yes, paternity can be established and the agency will initiate the appropriate court action.

How long after a child is born can paternity be established?

Paternity can be established from birth until 23 years of age.

Is a person receiving public assistance required to cooperate with the CSEA?

In order to avoid sanctions, a person receiving public assistance is required to cooperate with the CSEA in establishing both paternity and support. There are exceptions for the claim of ‘good cause’ if establishing an order would cause physical or emotional harm. Such a claim would need to be verified with evidence from law enforcement, court, medical office or other credible authority.

If you need additional information about your case or services available, contact the Stark County Child Support Enforcement Agency at 330-451-8930. 

How Is genetic testing conducted?

Genetic testing is conducted with buccal(oral, mouth or cheek) swabs. The DNA specimen is collected by rubbing the check inside of the mouth with long swabs that look like q-tips. The DNA test utilizing buccal swabs is the same DNA test where blood samples are taken. These tests are used in the courts though out the country and are more than 99% accurate.

What should I bring to the genetic testing appointment?

Each adult being tested must bring photo I.D. Parents, who are minors, must be accompanied by their legal guardian.



Stark County Commissioners Executive Director
Stark County Job & Family Services
221 3rd St SE
Canton, OH, US 44702
Stark JFS
© 2021 Stark County Job & Family Services. All rights reserved.