Both Parents Must Sign an Acknowledgment of the Paternity Form
Video Transcribed: You recently had a kid and want to ensure your rights will be respected. You are planning to go to court, to the district court, to file for your paternity rights. You’re trying to figure out where you want to file this. How is that determined?
My name is Brian L. Jackson. I am a Tulsa Paternity Lawyer here with dads.law. Today I want to talk about jurisdiction and venue. I’m going to try to keep this… Stay away from heavy legal terminology because I’m sure I will bore you guys to sleep if I get into that. I will boil this down as much as possible to the major points.
Jurisdiction for child custody is governed by the uniform child custody jurisdiction and enforcement act. The big key rule that comes into play on that is there’s a residency rule, which is called the home state rule, that’s usually used to determine initial jurisdiction.
The rule is that if the child resided in a particular state or territory, then that state or territory, well, I should say… If they’ve resided there for six months or were born there and are less than six months old, that state or territory becomes the home state of that child for the law. In other words, that state is that child’s home.
The reason that’s important to know is that the state also enjoys exclusive jurisdiction to determine custody and visitation with that child, other than if there was an emergency.
In other words, if you want to sue your ex and the child was born in Oklahoma and is less than six months old or has lived for six months in Oklahoma, you can sue her in Oklahoma. Now that tells you what state, but it doesn’t necessarily get around to the county.
The way you can determine the county is under title 10. Title 10 provides that the child’s county of residence, or the county of residence, or where the child can be found, or the county of residence of the respondent, which would be a mom in this case, has the appropriate forum where the venue would lie.
Venues saying, is this the right? Usually, it comes down to, is this the right state, is this the right county, the right district court, county court, to try this case?
Residency is…. and I have an appeal pending on this issue. Still, residency under title 10 is not particularly clearly defined, which usually means that the court will attach to it the ordinary meaning.
Since the term residence can be found in the same subsection of the statute, you can probably assume that the legislature meant for it to mean the child’s home county and/or where you might locate the child.
For example, if the child is staying with grandma and grandpa for the summer in a different county, you could file it in that county or the county where the child is a resident and the home county.
That home county, arguably, could be the county in which they resided for the last six months or the county in which they were born. That’s jurisdiction and venue. That’s how you figure out where to file it.
Now, this is one of those things you want to talk to a lawyer about if possible because there are some other rules. Some case law has these, and it can get complex.