Fathers who were or are married sometimes have difficulty getting custody and visitation with their children. For unwed fathers, the situation is even more challenging. An unmarried father’s legal rights in Tulsa, Oklahoma are limited to those he establishes through a legal process.
Unwed fathers can successfully obtain custody of their children in Oklahoma; however, they must follow the proper steps. When you hire a compassionate Tulsa men’s rights lawyer, you have an advocate on your side that is familiar with the family court and who knows the best course of action.
Custody Begins with Establishing Paternity
In Oklahoma, unwed mothers have de facto sole custody. Unwed fathers not listed on the birth certificate who wish to have custody must first establish paternity.
To establish paternity, you must go through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS).
However, DHS will not arrange for visitation or file for custody on your behalf. The best way to do so is to hire a skilled Tulsa divorce attorney for men who can file a Petition to Establish Custody in district court.
You will need to sign an Affidavit of Acknowledging Paternity. This document needs to be notarized and must state that you are the father of the child. If the mother does not agree that you are the biological father of the child, you cannot use an affidavit to establish paternity and get custody or visitation of your child.
Is DNA Testing Required to Establish Paternity?
If a couple is married at the time a child is born, the mother’s husband is presumed to be the child’s father. In the event that the parents are not married, things can get more complicated.
One option for unmarried parents is to sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form, which establishes an individual as the child’s father for legal purposes. If paternity is in dispute, either party has the option of filing a paternity lawsuit, during which a court may order genetic or DNA testing to determine the child’s true biological father.
How the Court Determines Who Gets Physical Custody
Oklahoma requires courts to determine custody arrangements for the child based on what is in his or her best physical, mental, and moral interests. Many factors are weighed to determine this, including:
- Each parent’s desires.
- If the child is old enough, the desires of the child.
- The relationship between the child and each parent.
- The relationship with grandparents, siblings, and other important people in the child’s life.
- The child’s relationship to their school, religious institution, and community.
- The mental and physical health of everyone involved.
- Past, present, or potential spousal or child abuse by either parent.
- The willingness of either parent to permit and encourage a relationship with the parent who does not have custody.
- A parent’s ability to provide for the physical needs of the child.
- Whether there are siblings, as most courts prefer to keep siblings together.
- A parent’s capacity and willingness to spend time with the child.
In consultation with a divorce attorney for men in Tulsa, your attorney can get to know you and your living situation better; in this way, he or she can show the court that your child will benefit from involvement in your life.
Start on the Path to Custody Today by Calling a Tulsa Men’s Rights Attorney
Custody, especially for unwed father not listed on a child’s birth certificate, is often a complex battle. Fathers who utilize the knowledge and experience of an experienced attorney may be able to establish paternity and enforce their parental rights more quickly than those who choose to handle the matter themselves.
To schedule your case consultation with a Tulsa men’s rights lawyer, call my office today at 918-986-7724 or complete our online contact form.