For married and unmarried parents alike, Oklahoma paternity legal questions and disputes are often very complicated, time-sensitive matters. We realize that here at the Tulsa Family Law Firm of Fry & Elder, which is why we act aggressively and accordingly in handling any and all paternity issues. Below are the answers to some of the more commonly asked questions about Oklahoma paternity law.
In regards to Oklahoma paternity, why does it matter if you are married or not?
For those couples that are married in Oklahoma, there is a “presumption of paternity” that the husband is the father when the wife has a child. This enables the baby to automatically enjoy certain rights such as inheritance that otherwise would not automatically be available.
The rules, however, are not the same for unmarried couples. For starters, there is no “presumption” that the biological father is the legal father when an unmarried woman has a baby. An unmarried couple must establish paternity for Oklahoma to observe that the biological father. This ultimately means that an unmarried couple has to get through some legal obstacles to ensure that the state recognizes that the baby’s biological father is its legal father.
What are the benefits of establishing paternity in Oklahoma?
Regardless of whether or not the parents have a loving or non-loving relationship, there are a number of reasons why the parents should want to establish paternity in Oklahoma of the child. A big reason is that the parents can work together to make decisions that are in the best interest of the child. Additionally, both parents have the right to go to the judge to order a custody and visitation schedule. This child also will have a greater sense of inclusion from being exposed to both sides of the family.
What happens if I am unsure about whom the child’s father is?
Then it is vital that you ask for a DNA test. This is important because the courts can look at multiple factors in determining whether or not a man is the father of the child. The man holding himself out to be the father of the child or a signed affidavit of paternity falls into this category. When the man has taken certain actions, like holding the child out on his own, or if it has been legally established that the man is the father of the child, typically the man only has until the child’s second birthday to contest the ruling.
What action should I take if I am ultimately determined to be the father of the child?
If this is the determined outcome, then it would be in your best interest to begin paying child support ASAP. Oklahoma law permits the mother to seek child support, which include birthing costs, dating back five years from the filing. Back child support calculation rarely is impacted by the man not knowing about the child or not getting to visit the child.
Experience the Fry & Elder Difference
If you have additional questions in regards to Oklahoma paternity law or another Oklahoma family law issue, we encourage you to contact an experienced family law attorney at your earliest convenience. Our team of proven trial lawyers are some of the most highly regarded and experienced in the state and include:
- Two 2018 Best Lawyers® Selections
- One of only 19 attorneys in the state to be a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
- Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year for Family Law in Tulsa 2016
- The 2016 Oklahoma Family Law Attorney of the Yearby the Oklahoma Bar Association Family Law Section
- Five attorneys recognized by Super Lawyers®
- Four attorneys AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
- Three of the past four Oklahoma Bar Association Family Law Section Chairs
- A Cherokee Nation District Court Judge
- The 2017 OBA Earl Sneed Award Recipients
Fry & Elder has been named to the prestigious U.S. News & World Report’s Best Law Firms List each of the past five years. Contact Fry & Elder Tulsa or Fry & Elder Oklahoma City today to set up a personal consultation with an accomplished Oklahoma family law attorney.