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When unmarried people have a child together, it is necessary to formally establish paternity of the child. This may be established through an acknowledgement of paternity that must be signed by both the mother and the father. The document is then filed with the office of child support in the department of job and family services no later than 10 days after it has been signed.

Paternity may also be established through an action filed in the juvenile court or other court with jurisdiction of the county in which the child, the child's mother, or the alleged father resides or is found or, if the alleged father is deceased, of the county in which proceedings for the probate of the alleged father's estate have been or can be commenced, or of the county in which the child is being provided support by the county department of job and family services of that county. An action to determine the parent-child relationship may be brought by the child, child's personal representative, mother or her personal representative, a man alleged or alleging himself to be the child's father, the child support enforcement agency of the county in which the child resides if the child's mother is a recipient of public assistance or of services under Title IV-D or the alleged father's personal representative.

Once paternity is established by court order, the father may petition the court to be designated the residential parent and legal custodian of the child or for parenting time with the child in a separate and new proceeding. Child support must also be set. The court may make a child support order retroactive to the birth of the child and may order payment of birth expenses unless the child is over three years old when the paternity action is brought and, prior to filing the paternity action, the putative father had no knowledge of, or had no reason to have knowledge of, his alleged paternity of the child. The mother may show that she performed a reasonable and documented effort to contact and notify the alleged father of his paternity.

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Moskowitz & Moskowitz, LLC
9000 Plainfield Road, Suite B
Cincinnati, Ohio 45236
Phone: (513) 721-3111
FAX: (513) 721-3077
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