Family law in Oklahoma generally recognizes equal opportunities for fathers and mothers alike to maintain parental roles with children regardless of whether there is any ongoing relationship between the parents or not. Yet there remains one stark exception. Fathers of children born out of wedlock have virtually no parental rights until they establish parentage though a legal process. For unmarried men, the only fathers rights Oklahoma recognizes are those established through a court process.
For unmarried fathers, it is urgent to establish parentage early. With room to put down roots, parental bonding typically begins immediately after birth. Without a legal relationship, the unmarried father of a beautiful new son or daughter risks losing that precious time forever.
Yet the birth of a child can be a busy time for adults, during which some unmarried fathers do not recognize the critical difference between determining paternity and establishing parentage. If a man has no doubt he is the father of a child, he might believe paternity questions are settled. Yet neither a scientific determination of paternity nor an understanding with the child’s mother establishes legal parentage.
Questions of paternity and parentage sometimes emerge months or even years after a child is born. While time has passed since birth, there is usually a compelling reason to determine while the child is growing up. There are quite often emotional, financial and even medical reasons to determine paternity even after a child matures to adulthood.
Paternity refers to who the child’s biological father is. A paternity determination is essential to establishing children’s parentage in Oklahoma.
If you believe you have fathered a child, there are compelling legal and emotional reasons to establish your parental role within a legal framework as quickly after the child’s birth as possible. If you have concerns related to establishing parentage in Oklahoma, you need an experienced Tulsa paternity attorney for men.
The Court’s Presumption
If you were married to a child’s mother when a child was conceived, the court presumes that you are the child’s father, You retain parental rights and responsibilities in the relationship with the other parent.
If you or your wife, however, questions your paternity, the court can require a paternity test to clarify the issue. Either way, a husband is presumed to be the father of his wife’s child unless someone proves he is not.
Unmarried Presumed Fathers
When a baby is born to a mother who isn’t married, she – by default – has custody of the child. Legally, the unmarried biological father has few rights as a parent beyond the right to prove he is the parent. Upon successful proof of paternity, he may establish custody and support arrangements much the same as would a married father.
The court, however, isn’t likely to deny the presumed father of the child privileges such as visitation simply because paternity testing is pending.
Oklahoma law recognizes the presumed father as the child’s father until his paternity is confirmed or denied via paternity testing. Current law allows the presumed father the right to petition for temporary court orders that determine issues such as custody, visitation, child support, and child care while test results are pending.
Parental Rights and Privileges
Establishing a thriving relationship with his newborn child can be vital to developing a flourishing relationship between a father and child over time. With established paternity come several important rights and responsibilities:
• You are legally able to add the child to your health insurance plans
• You can ensure that your child will receive the necessary benefits in the event of your death or disability.
• You provide your child with the right to inherit property in the event of your death.
• You can legally establish your parental rights and responsibilities through the courts, including child custody arrangements and child support (as applicable)
Nurturing a strong bond with your children is one of life’s greatest gifts. It is difficult to overstate the rewards inherent to fatherhood.
Your Child’s Rights and Privileges
Establishing parentage benefits the father, but it also provides a child with important rights and privileges:
• The right to the financial and emotional support of both parents.
• Access to medical coverage from either you or his or her mother.
• Entitlement to your future benefits, including your pensions, veteran’s benefits, social security benefits, and more.
• Inclusion as a beneficiary on your life insurance policies.
• Legally documented paternity.
Consult a Tulsa Parentage Attorney Now
Fatherhood is a remarkable experience. Proper legal counsel may be your best chance to avoid being sidelined from your child’s life by the absence of a legally established parental relationship.
A skilled Tulsa father’s rights attorney for men can guide you on the path toward establishing a legal parental relationship, at birth or whenever you discover a need to clarify your legal relationship with your children. For a prompt consultation, call (918) 986-7724 or contact us online for more information today.