Due to a high volume of filings, patrons may experience a delay in processing E-Filed documents. It is recommended that any time-sensitive documents be filed in-person.

Some filings required by Estate fiduciaries may be permitted an extension of time by written request. For more information regarding in-person filings, contact the Clerks Office at 216-443-8786. For information regarding extensions, contact the Accounts Department Supervisor at 216-443-8767.

Joint Declaration of Paternity

What Is a Joint Declaration of Paternity?

Ohio law provides that the Probate Court has authority to establish paternity between an adult child over the age of twenty-three (23), born in Ohio, and the father of the adult child.

If the alleged father is a resident of Ohio, the declaration must be filed in the county where he resides.  If the alleged father is not a resident of Ohio, the parties may file in any county of Ohio.

The man alleging himself to be the father of the adult child, the child's mother, and the adult child may appear together at Court and jointly file a declaration of paternity requesting that the court issue an order declaring that the man is the adult child's father.

For more information, please consult the Ohio Revised Code 2105.25 and 2105.26.

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What procedures are involved in filing at Probate Court?


Declarants must submit a signed application, including the signatures of the adult child, the alleged father of the adult child, and the mother. 

The application must include all required supporting documents.  (See list below.)

Note: The alleged father and the adult child may petition and appear before the court without the adult child's mother, if the mother is deceased or has been adjudicated incompetent.


The Court may set a date for a hearing on the application. 

Notice of the hearing will be sent to the joint declarants. In some instances, the Court may require additional hearings on the application. 

Upon satisfaction of proper notice, and that the declaration is in the best interest of the adult child and father, the Court will issue a certified order declaring the alleged father’s paternity to the adult child.


Declarants must transmit to the Ohio Department of Health a certified copy of the order of Court. The Department of Health will record the order and prepare the new birth certificate, usually within 3-4 weeks. To order your corrected copy of your birth certificate, contact your local office of Vital Statistics. You may order a certified copy of your Probate Court order from the Court. 

For additional assistance with the filing process, please consult an Ohio licensed attorney.

For more information about birth records, contact the Ohio Department of Health at (614) 466-2531. 

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What documents are needed to file a Joint Declaration of Paternity?

  • Petition for Joint Declaration of Paternity (must be typed)
  • Certified copy of an Ohio birth record or Birth Certificate (Showing that no father is designated on the record)
  • Genetic test restuls confirming the alleged father's paternity
  • Death Certificate or Letter of Guardianship, if the mother is deceased or has been adjudicated incompetent

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I electronically file (E-File) an application for a Joint Declaration of Paternity?

Yes, Applications may be E-Filed using the following guideline. Other useful links are below:

E-File Home Page and Login
E-File Account Registration

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How do I add the father’s name to a minor’s birth certificate, when the minor is under the age of twenty-three?

For minors under the age of twenty-three, a father’s name cannot be added or deleted from the birth record through proceedings at the Probate Court. 

Contact your local Child Support Enforcement Agency or the Ohio Department of Health, Vital Statistics, at (614) 466-2531. 

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I’m an adult and have genetic test results which determine a deceased man was my father; may I still file through this process?

No.  A Joint Declaration of Paternity must be filed by joint declarants including the alleged father, the adult child, and the adult child’s mother.

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Will the adult child’s name be changed after a joint declaration of paternity is issued by the Court?

No, the application to declare paternity of an adult child may not be used to change an adult’s name. For more information, see the Name Change topic page and consult an Ohio licensed attorney for legal processes available for a change of name. 

For additional questions about filing for a Joint Declaration of Paternity, please consult an Ohio licensed attorney BEFORE you submit filings to the Cuyahoga County Probate Court. 

For general questions about the filing process, please contact the Cuyahoga County Probate Court Clerk’s Office at (216) 443–8785.

If you have any questions about the E-File process, please contact the Probate Court E-File Help Desk at (216) 443-8948.

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