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What Is a Parent and Child Relationship?  

Updated: April 18, 2024
Nicholas G. Gounaris
By Nicholas G. Gounaris

Nicholas G. Gounaris is a skilled trial lawyer and founding partner of Gounaris Abboud law firm. He provides clients of the firm with competent legal representation and focuses his law practice in the areas of DUI Defense, Criminal Defense, Family Law Issues, Federal Criminal Law and Personal Injury cases.

Parent and child relationship means the legal relationship that exists between a child and the child’s natural or adoptive parents and upon which those sections and any other provision of the Revised Code confer or impose rights, privileges, duties, and obligations.

The “parent and child relationship” includes the mother and child relationship and the father and child relationship.

How Does Someone Establish Paternity?

In some cases, the court must decide parental rights.

In other situations, the person is a child’s biological parent. With adoption, it would be a non-biological parent.

The parent and child relationship is legal and imposes duties, obligations, rights, and privileges.  In Ohio, there are three primary ways to establish paternity.


The most common way to establish parental rights is through marriage. The law assumes paternity when a couple is married when the mother gives birth.

Paternity will also be assumed when the child is born within 300 days after divorce or death.

Parties have the right to dispute this at a support hearing, but resolving such a dispute would require genetic testing.

If the mother is unmarried, the child has no legal father, and parentage must be established by one of the remaining two options.

Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit

The affidavit of parenting time is a form that’s available at the hospital when the mother is in labor. You can also pick one up at the nearest Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA).

Both parents must complete the affidavit form and have it notarized.

Completing the acknowledgment of the paternity affidavit is a voluntary process for establishing the identity of the child’s biological parents.

Mothers who have doubts about who the father is should not let someone sign the affidavit. It’s better to proceed with genetic testing first if any doubt exists.

Filling out the form requires a photo ID. Each parent must provide their full name, address, date of birth, and Social Security Number (if applicable).

The father will also need to provide his birth state or country. Both parents must sign the form in front of a notary, but they don’t need to do it at the same time.

For the affidavit form, free notary services are available at hospitals, CSEAs, or local registrars and health departments.

Genetic Testing

The third method of establishing paternity is through genetic testing. This option usually happens when someone is contesting paternity, or the child’s parentage is in question.

Parentage testing is done by swabbing skin cells inside the mouth of the child, mother, and potential father.

For the court to confirm paternity, the test results must indicate a 99% chance of paternity.

If the court or CSEA issues an order for paternity, the potential father could face legal troubles for not cooperating with the order.

When you establish parentage through genetic testing or the affidavit, results are sent to the Central Paternity Registry in Ohio.

The Central Paternity Registry (CPR) is a federally-mandated program that requires each state to maintain a paternity registry for all children born to unmarried mothers.

Establishing Rights and Benefits

For many people, voluntarily establishing paternity is desirable.

Parents typically want to have their name on the birth certificate, and they want to enjoy the legal rights and obligations of being a parent.

Some of the benefits are as follows:

  • The father gains legal rights to their child once their name is added to the child’s birth certificate. That gives the child access to benefits such as life insurance, Social Security, inheritances, and military benefits, if applicable.
  • The child has access to their father’s health insurance, and they have information on both the mother’s and father’s medical histories.

One of the most obvious benefits of establishing paternity is the opportunity for a child to bond with their father.

What Happens After You Determine Paternity?

What happens once you determine paternity might vary depending on your circumstances.

If both parents are in a committed relationship, there may not be a need to file anything with the court. For parents who are not together, it may be necessary to file for custody and child support.

The court might issue an order that allocates custody and each parent’s rights and responsibilities.

Each parent will have the opportunity to present evidence supporting what they believe to be in the child’s best interests.

The court will also request health insurance information and proof of income to determine a reasonable award for child support.

Do You Need to Hire a Family Law Attorney?

While you are under no obligation to hire a lawyer for parentage matters, it’s definitely wise to do so.

The legal team at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, has over 50 years of collective experience in family law matters.

We understand how quickly things can turn sour in paternity cases.

We can assist you if you are the mother requesting someone get genetic testing or if you are the father who needs help establishing parental rights.

Don’t jeopardize your potential rights by trying to handle a parentage case independently. Our family law attorneys stand ready to help.

Contact our office at 937-222-1515 to schedule an initial consultation.

Available 24/7 & Obligation-Free