Establish Your Rights
Video Transcribed: I am Oklahoma fathers rights attorney, Brian Jackson. I want to talk to you guys who are unmarried fathers, and I’m going to tell you something that is going to be a real painful truth here, but it’s something you 100% should know. If you’re not married to her and you have not already established your rights and she takes the kids out of state, your options are extremely limited at that point.
The fact of the matter is under Oklahoma law if you’re an unwed father, and we’ve talked about this before, you don’t have rights until you establish them. So, if you are dealing with a situation like this, if you have any reason to think she might take the kids and disappear, then you should get on top of filing paternity immediately.
Actually, you should really get on top of filing paternity. If you know you have a child out of wedlock file paternity, as soon as you possibly can, because without that, she can take the kids and disappear. And without being able to find her, you’re really up the proverbial creek without a paddle, because you can’t even really go and argue anything without establishing rights.
And without being able to find her, getting her served is going to be a problem and you could also potentially run into some jurisdictional and venue issues, which might prevent you from filing it in-state if she’s taking the kids to another state.
So the first thing to know is if you have a child, file that fraternity action immediately in the district court. If you can, do it while she’s still pregnant and before the kid comes on the scene.
Now once you have rights, then the enforcement of those rights in a… Once you establish rights to a paternity suit, enforcement of those rights is going to be similar to how you might do it if you were married to the mother.
If you have visitation and she’s disappeared, you need to get a lawyer immediately and you need to have them pursue filing, at the very minimum, a motion to enforce. And depending on the circumstances, it may also be appropriate to seek out an emergency ex parte order.
And if she’s going to keep the kids from you and try to disappear out of state, then this is where you need to pursue custody. If you don’t already have it, then you should pursue it. If you do have it, then you would want to talk to your attorney about getting a writ for the recovery of the children, as well as an appropriate court order.
In any of these situations, I can’t overstate how imperative it is, get a lawyer right away, because this is an emergency to you from the standpoint of the longer you sit on your rights, the harder it’s going to be to enforce them.
As to whether or not it’s an emergency for the purposes of an emergency ex parte order, that really depends on the circumstances. Judges will not necessarily consider mom taking the kids and splitting to be an emergency in and of itself.
It depends on the other facts surrounding the situation. Now, as we’ve discussed before, this is where you do need a lawyer, and this is the kind of case that I handle on behalf of dads. So, if you want help, go to dads.law if you find yourself facing the situation.