How to Petition the Court for a Paternity Test

Written by jessica mcfall
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How to Petition the Court for a Paternity Test
Failing to take a paternity test can result in a contempt-of-court citation. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

If you have doubts about the paternity of your child, you can petition the court to have a test performed to determine if you are the father. A petition for a paternity test can be filed by either the mother or father of the child. Parents request paternity tests for different reasons, but generally because of child support or visitation issues. Paternity issues are handled in the county family court of jurisdiction, so the forms and regulations vary from state-to-state.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Obtain a petition from the local court where the mother resides. Complete the petition and return it to the court. All courts have a similar form, which generally asks for your name, relationship to the child, parent name to be tested and address. When you go through the courts, testing is mandatory and the court can issue an enforceable order.

  2. 2

    Comply with the administrative process of the county court. County courts require a motion for paternity and reasonable notice to the custodial parent. In Ohio and most other states, this means the court will process the motion, and then issue a separate motion for the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to administer a DNA swab test. At this point, the DCFS takes over for the court.

  3. 3

    File your paternity request in the county court if you are involved in a paternity dispute and the other party refuses to cooperate. A magistrate generally conducts a hearing to determine if an agreement can be reached between disputing parties regarding paternity. If no agreement can be reached, the magistrate orders the test.

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