File a Paternity Action in District Court
Video Transcribed: My name is Brian L. Jackson, and I’m an Oklahoma Father’s Rights attorney with Dads.Law, we protect fathers’ rights in Oklahoma. Today’s video is entitled Don’t Be An ATM. Something to be aware of. As an unmarried father, if you have not entered into judicial paternity proceedings in the district court, then the fact of the matter is, you have no right to visitation with or custody of your child that you had at wedlock.
This is an unfortunate, but true fact under Oklahoma law. Oklahoma law presumes custody with the mother if she is unmarried and has a child by a man, as I said, that she didn’t marry until there is a court order to the contrary.
Furthermore, the really lousy thing about it is she can actually get a child support order against you without you having any opportunity to be heard on the issue of custody and visitation. How?
Well, if she takes it to DHS admin court, all that court system does basically, all those DHS admin courts do is they can determine who is the parent, or who’s the father, and then they can order the father to pay child support.
They don’t even have the authority to award you any visitation or to consider whether or not you should be allowed custody. So essentially, they turn you into mom’s personal ATM for child support. Don’t like that reality? Well, here’s the solution.
If you know you’re expecting a child out of wedlock, or if you have a child out of wedlock, then you need to be the one that’s proactive. Go file a paternity action in district court.
And you have the power to seek out the benefit of the court, and the district court can order visitation and could even award you custody if you have the right kind of case. And it’s important that you do this sooner rather than later.
The longer if you wait around after the child’s born, you can end up going in behind the eight balls and owing to an arrearage. Courts can go back up to two years to determine an arrearage.
Furthermore, the mother can also sue you for the costs of birth. So a good idea is, first of all, if you know you have a kid on the way, file paternity as soon as you possibly can. Secondly, provide some kind of financial support to mom during the pregnancy and keep records.
If you’re going to do this, you need to keep detailed records. Don’t give her cash. If you’re going to give her money, give her a check and keep those check records. Or pay for things directly and keep the receipts. But do make sure you can show a paper trail because that’s how you defeat those kinds of claims.
As I said, you do not want to be turned into somebody’s personal ATM for child support. And I know that’s a harsh way of putting it, but that is essentially what can happen to you if you do not protect your rights.
Now today, we were talking about that in the context of if you’re unmarried. My next video, which is going to be along with the same topic, is going to be in this situation where you are married. And yes, you can still end up having to pay for a child that you don’t have any right to see, even if you’re married.
Now, you’re in a bit of a better position legally if you’re married. But even still, if you’re not willing to stand up for your rights, if you don’t fight for yourself, you can still be made to pay child support for a child that you have no right to see.
If you do know you have a child on the way and you need to file paternity, and you should file paternity. Having your name on the birth certificate is not enough. You should file paternity. And if you need help with that, you should go to dads.law, where fathers are not disposable, my name is Brian L. Jackson and I’m an Oklahoma father’s rights attorney.