Establishing Your Rights As a Father
If you’re an unwed father in Oklahoma, you don’t automatically enjoy the same rights as married fathers. When a man’s wife has a child, Oklahoma law presumes that he is the father. As such, he gets paternal rights to that child. However, if a woman you aren’t married to has a child you believe is yours, you need to prove that by establishing paternity before you can have any legal, enforceable rights to that child.
Ways to Establish Paternity
Some rights you’ll want to establish as an unwed father in Oklahoma include visitation, custody, and the ability to make decisions regarding the child. The best way to do this is to get a court-issued Paternity Decree. Other options are an Acknowledgement of Paternity, a DNA test, and negotiation. An Oklahoma City family law attorney can guide you through establishing your paternity.
Acknowledgement of Paternity
If both parents agree who the father is, they can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity. It can be completed at the hospital when the child is born. While it can also be completed later, the Oklahoma Department of Health with charge you a fee to establish paternity and change the birth certificate.
If the mother and alleged father can’t agree or don’t know who the father is, they can get a DNA test. A DNA sample is taken from both the child and the alleged father with an oral swab. The results are highly accurate. Most courts require at least a 99% likelihood to establish paternity.
While you can technically do a DNA test before the child is born, prenatal tests are dangerous and should be avoided. It’s also important to know that at-home paternity DNA tests aren’t admissible in court. While they may settle disputes between parents, they aren’t legally binding.
Negotiation and Court
Until a man establishes paternity and gains his rights as a father, any relationship he has with the child is dictated by the mother.
She might allow him to visit the child or even spend time alone with them, but she can change her mind at any point. Just because the man and the mother get along in the beginning doesn’t mean they always will. Something could happen that would threaten his relationship with both the mother and her child.
Even if negotiation works at first, you’ll still want to establish paternity in court so you can’t lose your rights as a father so easily.
You can go to court to get a decree of paternity. The court will issue this once they have definitively determined that you are the father. They do this with a DNA test. The Paternity Decree also includes visitation and custody orders and a parenting plan.
Why determine paternity?
There are many reasons why a man and woman would want to determine paternity. They include:
- When a mother wants to prove a man’s paternity so he’ll fulfill his obligations
- When a father wants right to his child, such as visitation and custody
- When a man wants to prove he’s not the father
- When a mother wants to prove the alleged father isn’t the father
- When an adopted child wants to know if the man is his biological father
- When someone needs to prove they are a legitimate heir to an inheritance
- When someone needs to prove they’re eligible to receive their father’s Social Security benefits
- When someone needs to know who the father is for medical purposes
Whatever your reason is for determining and establishing paternity, the Oklahoma City paternity attorneys at Wirth Law Office can help you get it done.
Free Consultation with an Oklahoma City Paternity Attorney
If you’re an unwed father in Oklahoma, and you want to gain rights to your child, you need to legally establish your paternity. Don’t wait any longer to do this. It’s imperative that you act now to get those rights. The longer you wait, the more difficult it’ll be. For a free consultation with a paternity attorney from Wirth Law Office – Oklahoma City call (405) 888-5400 or fill out the form at the top of the page.