The term paternity refers to the legal determination of fatherhood. Paternity must be established for legal rights and responsibilities to extend to the father. Often in paternity proceedings, a parent is seeking to establish rights to custody, visitation, or child support. DNA testing is required in some cases and, in others, parentage is established through proof of required documents. In Oklahoma, paternity can generally be established in one of four ways: through a presumption of paternity, acknowledgment of paternity, adjudication of paternity, and by adoption.
Fathers of children born outside of marriage have different automatic rights and obligations than fathers of children born of a marital relationship. Generally, if a child is born into a marriage, both parents have legal rights and responsibilities, as the husband is presumed to be the father of the child. Conversely, mothers of children born outside of marriage have custody by default, and unwed fathers have no automatic rights to custody or visitation. It takes affirmative action to establish a father’s parental rights for a child born outside of marriage. It may require more effort to establish his rights, but once established, he is on a level playing field with those parents with children born of a marriage. Whether you are in a common law marriage, or an unmarried father, we can answer your questions regarding your paternity matter.
Our skilled and compassionate family lawyers represent custodial and non custodial parents of children in support actions. If you are in need of a legal opinion from an attorney knowledgeable regarding child support in Oklahoma, contact our office for a consultation.