3 Important Things to Know About Fathers’ Rights
In some situations, a father’s rights regarding their children are very different compared to a mother’s rights in Oklahoma. At the same time, Oklahoma also recognizes that having both parents involved in a child’s life is important for a child’s growth and development.
Nonetheless, fathers often need to take extra steps to assert their parental rights. As a father, you need to understand these rights to claim them properly if necessary. Below are a few things every father should know when it comes to their parental rights.
1. Every father has certain rights and responsibilities regarding their children.
Although it may not seem like it in some cases, fathers have the same parental rights as mothers if certain conditions are met.
These rights generally include the following:
- Having information and making decisions about the child’s health and education
- Participating in decision-making related to medical care
- Being heard before parental rights are terminated
- The right to seek custody and visitation
These rights generally mean that fathers can and should establish visitations and custody plans with the other parent. Unless the court orders otherwise, most parenting plans in Oklahoma involve equal time with each parent.
Each parent also has specific responsibilities related to their children, including providing for their child’s safety, health, and well-being.
As long as a father has established paternity, these rights and responsibilities exist regardless of whether the child’s parents are married.
2. A father may need to take steps to establish paternity if the father and mother are not married.
If the child’s parents are married, the husband is automatically assumed to be the father under Oklahoma law. If the parents are not married, the father may need to take affirmative steps to establish paternity.
Having the father’s name on the birth certificate is enough to establish paternity. However, if the father is not on the birth certificate, he may need to ask the court to establish paternity. In many cases, the parents can agree to establish paternity voluntarily. If the parties cannot agree, then the father and child may need to take a DNA test to show that they are related.
- A mother cannot withhold visitation because of falling behind on child support payments.
Child support payments and visitation rights are not dependent on one another. Neither a mother nor a court can withhold visitation because a father falls behind on child support payments. If a mother attempts to stop visitation because of child support issues, a father can ask the court to address this issue. However, both parents should always try to keep up with child support payments and any other court orders related to their children.
Get Fathers’ Rights Help from an Oklahoma Family Lawyer
When parents disagree about custody and visitation, fathers need to take steps to assert their rights. Understanding those rights is the first step toward protecting fathers’ rights. Brown & Gould can often help fathers understand and maintain their rights regarding their children—because fathers have rights too! Contact us at 405-235-4500 for more information about how our Family Law attorneys can help.