Paternity is the legal process through which the identity of a child's father is confirmed. While Oklahoma law makes certain presumptions about paternity if the birth mother is married, the truth is that even married couples wind up having disputes over who are a child's biological parents. In order to determine a father's rights and responsibilities when it comes to the child, a legal determination of paternity may be required. This process can be straightforward if all parties involved are on the same page. However, it can get difficult if one or more of the parties becomes combative.
The best way to approach an Oklahoma paternity action is by contacting an experienced Oklahoma family law attorney. The experienced family law attorneys at Worden & Carbitcher have been practicing family law for years, and are committed to meeting the needs of their clients.
When is an Oklahoma Paternity Action Necessary?
The reasons a birth mother or a putative (presumed) father might want to establish the paternity of a child are countless. Many can be contentious, like with cases where there is a dispute as to who the father of the child is. In those cases, a mother may want to file a paternity action because she is unmarried and there is no presumption of the identity of the father.
Paternity may also be established simply to protect the financial rights of the child or even help identify their family medical history. Other cases could be less common, like when disagreements arise during a surrogacy. Regardless of the reason, Worden & Carbitcher understands that paternity actions can be emotional and complicated. That's why the attorneys at the Worden & Carbitcher are available for their clients, ready to answer questions and prepare the necessary filings.
Process for Establishing Paternity in Oklahoma
Oklahoma's process for establishing paternity is not that different from other states. Oklahoma law presumes that the husband of the birth mother is the father of the child. If the husband has doubts that he is the father, he can request the genetic testing used in cases of unmarried parents.
In the case of an unmarried couple, there is no presumption of paternity. This is the case regardless of the nature of the couple's relationship. However, establishing paternity is simple if all parties agree. The putative father would only need to sign off on an Acknowledgement of Paternity. The Acknowledgment of Paternity form must be signed by both parents, and each signature must be witnessed. The witness cannot be the other parent, so a friend or medical professional will need to be present for the signing. While often signed at the hospital shortly after birth, an Acknowledgement of Paternity may be signed at a later date. Once signed, the father has the same rights and responsibilities of any other parent.
The process is not so simple if one of the parties is contesting paternity. It's possible either parent has doubts about paternity, and if either parent refuses to sign the Acknowledgement of Paternity the father will not immediately be listed on the birth certificate. At that point, the parties will need to complete a DNA test to determine paternity.
If you aren't 100% sure that a child is yours biologically, you DO NOT have to sign the Acknowledge of Paternity or birth certificate. No one can force you to do that until you've gone through the process of establishing paternity and have been found to be the biological father.
If both parties agree to the testing, this part of the process is as simple as the putative (presumed) father giving a DNA sample and then awaiting results. The testing can take place before or after the birth of the child, and if the tests are positive the father can then sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity.
Rights and Responsibilities after Paternity is Established
Once paternity has been established, a father has the same rights and responsibilities of any parent. The father will be required to provide safe, permanent housing for the child. The father is also required to commit to supporting the child until adulthood. This isn't just financial support; this also includes physical and emotional support as well. As a parent, a father will have a say in decisions related to the health and education of the child. By establishing paternity, the child also obtains certain rights from the parent. The child will be in line to inherit property from the parent's estate, for example.
The rights and responsibilities of a parent are significant. If you have questions related to your parental rights, the family lawyers at Worden & Carbitcher are ready to help. Contact the attorneys at Worden & Carbitcher today to get the answers you are looking for.
An Oklahoma Family Law Attorney You Can Count On
While the paternity process can be done without an attorney, that doesn't make it a good idea. This is especially true in cases where paternity is contested or where the parties won't consent to a DNA test. Determining paternity can be an enormous undertaking; having an experienced family law attorney at your side makes the process much more manageable.
If you are facing a paternity issue in Oklahoma, contact the experienced family law attorneys at the Worden & Carbitcher today. The family law attorneys at the Worden & Carbitcher has extensive experience in the paternity action process. If you would like to discuss your case with the experienced family law attorneys at the Worden & Carbitcher, contact the firm today to schedule your free consultation.