Virginia Cornwell is a Columbus Ohio Child Support Attorney and an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialist.
- How far back can child support go in Ohio?
- I didn’t even know about this baby, and now, 10 years later she is going for child support all the way back to birth. Can she do that?
- In Ohio, is there a certain age where, if you haven’t already applied for child support ,you can’t get back support?
- Is there a statute of limitations on child support in Ohio?
Ohio Revised Code 3111.05 (statute of limitations) says an action to determine the existence or nonexistence of the father and child relationship (paternity, or parentage) may not be brought later that five years after the child reaches the age of 18. That means that in Ohio paternity can be established up until the age of 23.
Q. Who can file an action to establish paternity in Ohio?
A. According to Ohio Revised Code 3111.04, the following people can bring an action for paternity:
- the child or the child’s personal representative
- the child’s mother or her personal representative
- a man alleged or alleging himself to be the child’s father or his personal representative
- the child support enforcement agency of the county in which the child resides IF the child’s mother, father, or alleged father is a recipient of public assistance or of services under Title IV-D of the “Social Security Act,” 88 Stat. 2351 (1975), 42 U.S.C.A. 651, as amended. Public assistance, as used in this statute, means:
- Ohio works first
- Disability financial assistance
Ohio Revised Code 3111.13 controls this issue. That statute says that a court shall not order retroactive child support if both of the following apply:
- At the time of the initial filing of the paternity or parentage action the child was over three years of age.
- Prior to the initial filing of the paternity or parentage action, the alleged father had no knowledge and had no reason to have knowledge of his alleged paternity of the child. (the mother of the child may establish that the alleged father had or should have had knowledge of the paternity of the child by showing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that she performed a reasonable and documented effort to contact and notify the alleged father)
Establishing Paternity as an Adult in Ohio
- that the adult child’s birth certificate does not designate anyone as the adult child’s father (copy of the birth certificate must be attached);
- the request for the order is made freely and voluntarily by all parties appearing before the court; and
- genetic test results show the man is the adult child’s father. (A copy of the DNA test results must be attached)
Okay, so, if you read the Carnes case, plus the statutes, you’d think that, since a mother can file an action for paternity until a child is age 23, that a mother would also be able to file for retroactive child support until the child turns 23, just like the adult child did in Carnes, right? Maybe not. In the case In re J.V., E.V. Appellant, E.V., the mother of J.V., filed for an action for retroactive child support. The court of appeals said that because the child was over 18 the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to award child support to the mother. The court noted that unlike the Carnes v. Kemp case, no action for paternity had been filed, but said that even if the mother HAD filed an action for paternity, the Carnes case only held that an adult emancipated child could establish paternity and get 18 years back support after reaching the age of 18. The Court of Appeals in In re J.V. said that the Carnes case did NOT say that a mother had a right to file a claim for retroactive child support after the child turns 18, only that an adult child has the right. This interpretation of Carnes may not be completely consistent with the Supreme Court’s holding in Carnes, and it is very likely that there will be more decisions addressing this issue in the next few years.
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