Oklahoma City Paternity Lawyers
All children are the biological product of two parents – a mother and a father. However, even though both parents may biologically be related to a child, both parents are not automatically granted full legal parental rights in regards to that child. Indeed, while a mother does get full parental rights of a child at the time of birth based on the obvious nature of the child being the mother’s, the same is not always true for fathers.
At the law offices of Brown & Gould, PLLC, our experienced Oklahoma City paternity lawyers can help you to understand what paternity is, the benefits of establishing paternity, and how paternity is established. Please contact us today to set up your initial consultation and begin the process of learning more.
How Paternity Is Established in Oklahoma
When a couple is married and a child from that couple is born, the husband is presumed to be the father, his name will be added to a birth certificate, and paternity with automatically be established and the father will have parental rights. However, when a child is born outside of wedlock, the process is not as straightforward.
When a child is born outside of a marriage, the father must take steps to establish himself as the father. The easiest way to do this is for both the mother and the father to sign an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity. Of course, if either party is unsure of whether or not the male in question is the father, they should refrain from signing this document. (As a note, keep in mind that while an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity may recognize the legal father and establish paternity, it does not give him legal parental rights, such as the right to custody of his child. Rather, it gives him the right to petition the court for these rights).
If either parent doubts whether or not a given man may be the father of a child, the best thing to do is to schedule genetic testing to establish paternity. If the father does not agree to genetic testing, or if the mother is not voluntarily recognizing the results of a genetic test and is refusing to sign an acknowledgment of paternity as such, either parent may bring the case to court. If this is the case, the judge may order the alleged father to submit to genetic testing, and depending upon the results of the testing, may establish paternity via court order.
Why Establishing Paternity Is Important
Even if parents have no plans to live together, and even if the mother is financially independent and able to care for a child without assistance from the father, including without the assistance of child support, establishing paternity is still an important step to take. When paternity is established, the child obtains rights to benefits, some of which are from their father’s record, such as Social Security benefits, veterans’ benefits, inheritance, health insurance benefits, life insurance benefits, and child support. Establishing paternity can also give a child a sense of identity, an opportunity to know where they came from, and more information about their family medical history. Mothers benefit from emotional and financial support in many cases, and fathers who have established paternity gain the right to seek custody or visitation with their child, as well as the right to seek legal decision making power (the ability to make important decisions about a child, such as the religion they are raised or the type of healthcare they should receive).
Why You Should Work with an Oklahoma City Paternity Lawyer
While there are many benefits to establishing paternity, doing so is not always easy. In fact, you may need to go to court to get a mother or a father to acknowledge paternity (sometimes, refusal to submit to genetic testing or sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity are barriers to the process). What’s more, once paternity is established, a skilled lawyer can help you to take the next steps, such as a reaching a custody arrangement, child support arrangement, etc. with the child’s other parent through the courts.
Contact the Offices of Brown & Gould, PLLC Today
The relationship that you have with your child is one of the most important things in life; when paternity is not established, legal complications can impair this relationship. At the law offices of Brown & Gould, PLLC, our Oklahoma City family law and paternity lawyers are here to help you understand your rights and options for establishing paternity, as well as what comes next. To schedule a consultation, please call our law offices today, or send us a message at your earliest convenience.