Fathers Must Establish Their Parental Rights
Video Transcribed: My name is Attorney Jason Lile, and I am the Oklahoma Dad’s Law Attorney at dads.law in Oklahoma. I wanted to talk to you about something today that I encounter frequently in my practice, and it’s men or fathers coming to me who haven’t married their partner but have had children or children with them.
And they ask me, “Do I have any rights?” They’re often asking me this question in the context of being told, whether it be by a friend or by the children’s mother, that they don’t have any rights because they’re not married.
Well, this is a half-truth. And I’m glad that you are seeking legal advice about this because without being married to the child or the children’s mother, you are in a bit of a precarious position. And here’s why.
In Oklahoma, when you’re unmarried, the default is that the mother has sole legal custody until a court order is entered. What does that mean? Well, that means that you don’t have any decision-making power over those children at all.
The other thing is you need to ask yourself whether or not you have signed an acknowledgment of paternity for that child or those children. Because if you don’t or you haven’t, somebody else could. And after two years that that’s happened, you no longer have any rights to those children.
A good attorney should be able to advise you that you need to immediately file a paternity lawsuit that will establish legal paternity, custody visitation, and child support. Because until you do that, you don’t have those rights.
And the other thing is it doesn’t mean that you’re not accruing back child support liability just because you don’t have the right to make decisions or have visitation with them. In addition, the Department of Human Services can bring a child support lawsuit against you without the mother ever filing a paternity action.
All of these things put you in a legally vulnerable position and a pragmatic vulnerable position, and a good family law attorney should be able to advise you as to what the next step is for you to immediately protect your rights as an unmarried father because you have a lot of them.
Again, my name is Jason Lile. And if you have any questions about this matter or any other matter relating to a family law case, please feel free to contact the Tulsa child custody attorney for men at dads.law