8 Key Things To Know About Paternity in OK
Paternity is the act of becoming a legal father in Oklahoma. Without establishing paternity, fathers can lose many rights including custody or access to their children.
Here are 8 things fathers in Oklahoma need to know about legal fatherhood.
1. Marriages that produce children are different from relationships without marriage that also produce children.
In marriage, the husband is assumed by the court to be the legal father of any child. In a relationship without marriage, there is no such assumption, and fatherhood must be proven genetically or agreed upon legally.
2. Genetic testing is one method by way of establishing that a man is the father of a child.
It is not the only way; however. If you are not married, both the man and the woman in the relationship can sign an “Acknowledgment of Paternity” form that is binding.
3. In contested divorces or situations where the child’s care’s been contested, a court judge can establish paternity.
This occurs when the father denies they are the father or is uncooperative with their role as a father or in support of the said child.
4. Without establishing paternity, an unmarried man who fathers a child has no rights.
The court will not recognize a man who is not established to be the father of a child. The man will have to undergo legal action to establish himself as a legal father in order to obtain paternity rights for that child. The mother automatically assumes full custody of the child if they are not married.
5. Fathers have options when it comes to establishing paternity.
The easiest way is to sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity form, which also requires the biological mother’s signature too. The first opportunity to do that is at the time of the child’s birth. The Acknowledgment of Paternity can be signed later at one of the many governmental agencies in Oklahoma, such as a county health department, however, it is best not to wait too long.
6. Oklahoma is keen on parents providing support and proper care for the children they produce.
When the father is not recognized by the court, a judge can declare paternity, which will obligate the man to responsibilities of child support, healthcare, and other necessities of being a parent.
7. In Oklahoma, an unmarried woman who becomes a mother is given sole custody of the child she bears.
That action can be mitigated by a judge who may order paternity testing if the father is seeking to have influence in the raising of his child. That includes the right to have a say in religious upbringing, schooling, and other aspects of parenthood.
8. Doing nothing is not always an option.
If an unmarried mother does not declare the father of her child, and the father does not declare himself the father nor go through the legal path to establish himself as a legal father, then a Child Support Service agent can file the legal case. In this situation, both parents will be brought before a judge to determine parental responsibility including paternity. That process can be a court order to produce genetic testing or face punishment.
The list above shows the severity of paternity rights in Oklahoma. If you are a loved one is facing paternity challenges or may feel that they are being denied parenting rights then they should seek the help of a family lawyer with the experience to handle paternity issues.
Contact Brown & Gould With Any Questions Regarding Paternity In Oklahoma
Brown and Gould Law firm provides family service legal representation to the greater Oklahoma community. Call today to discuss your case and discover your rights as a parent under Oklahoma law