Unwed Men Must Establish Paternity to Get Dad’s Rights
It’s often in the back of a man’s mind yet, for some reason, we seldom think it will happen to us. You have recently found out that your girlfriend is pregnant. You are over the moon, excited at the prospect of being a father. Your thoughts naturally focus on how you will relate to the child. Legal aspects are often the farthest thing from an unmarried man’s mind – especially if he is getting along well with the mom.
Even though this may not be a time to naturally think about the legalities of your situation, it may be important to do so. Establishing paternity can be one of the most important things you can do right now to build a solid foundation with your child. Your Tulsa paternity lawyer can help you understand what steps are involved in establishing paternity in your case.
How A Tulsa Paternity Lawyer Can Help
We take paternity for granted in some respects. If you are married in Oklahoma, paternity is presumed when you have a child with that spouse.
Problems begin when the parents are not married. In that case, there is no presumption that protects the father regarding paternity. The father must be proactive about establishing paternity in order to establish any legal rights regarding the child. Tulsa fathers rights attorneys can help.
How To Establish Legal Paternity
The simplest way to establish paternity is with an acknowledgement of paternity form. It is often available at a hospital at which the mother gives birth. If the mother agrees, the document can be signed at the hospital. This document becomes proof of paternity.
Let us say your girlfriend gives birth and is willing to sign an acknowledgment of paternity form. Should you and your girlfriend break up at some later point in time, this document can be critical in establishing your rights to see your child and to have a relationship with that child. Without that document, it is imperative to establish paternity in another way.
DNA testing is now the easiest way to establish physical paternity. Sometimes, there is a question as to who the father of a child is. In that case, if the mother is willing, a paternity determination test involving a DNA buccal swab is necessary.
This is a non-invasive procedure. It is done by rubbing a cotton swab inside the mouth to collect DNA material from both the child and the man in question. The test is highly accurate.
The Paternity Lawsuit
When a mother is unwilling to help establish paternity, a paternity lawsuit is often necessary. This is often done by a petition before a family court.
If you are seeking to establish paternity with an unwilling mother, it will be necessary to hire an experienced paternity lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can draft the necessary documents and represent you at the hearing on the petition.
There are certain things that you can do short of a DNA test that might help you in court. If you have been supporting the child or have held the child out as your own, that is helpful. Likewise, if your name is on the birth certificate or the Department of Human Services (DHS) has entered an administrative child support order against you, that is helpful.
DNA testing may be required by the judge as part of the paternity lawsuit. DNA testing to prove paternity can cost money you might rather spend on your new child, but it provides the conclusive proof of parentage required to secure your parental rights.
Establishing Custody, Support, And Visitation Rights
It is important to understand that establishing paternity is just one step required to build a solid foundation with your child. After establishing paternity, it will be necessary to exercise any further rights that you wish to enjoy with your child. This can be custody if you are seeking to establish the right to have your child live with you.
Joint custody may be easier to obtain than sole custody. In joint physical custody cases, the child lives with the you part-time and part-time with the mother.
If you and the mother can work out a schedule, that is always best. If you and the mother are unable to do so, then the court will decide. Vacations and summers are also determined according to a schedule.
This can also mean protecting your child’s future by establishing child support for your child. This can mean monthly support payments, but it can also open doors to later life insurance, Social Security, and other types of support and financial benefits.
Finally, it can be a first step to establishing visitation rights with your child. All these rights will require a petition before the family court. Your Tulsa paternity lawyer can be with you every step of the way in building a solid foundation with your child.
Free Consultation With A Tulsa Paternity Lawyer
Always make sure to work with an experienced Tulsa paternity lawyer. Building a solid foundation is important to everyone involved. Do it right the first time. Contact a Tulsa men’s rights attorney who understands the urgency of establishing paternity. Call me at 918-962-0900 or send me a message by clicking the consultation button anywhere on this site.