Establishing Paternity

A Father's Rights & Responsibilities

Either a mother or a father can open a child support case to establish paternity. Establishing paternity is the process of determining the legal father of a child. Establishing paternity can help a child receive support from both parents, can provide the child with the opportunity to take his/her father's last name and can improve his/her financial security.

When a woman is married her husband is presumed to be the father of the child. However, when the parents were not married at the beginning of the pregnancy or at the birth of the child, then paternity has to be established. One way to establish paternity is if both parents sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity.

In cases where a woman is married to a man who is not the father of her child, her husband must sign a Denial of Paternity. Additionally, a judge can establish paternity. Establishing paternity creates official legal documentation of the child's natural parents, and it can be accomplished by:

  • While the simplest way to establish paternity is for the mother and father to voluntarily complete the Acknowledgement of Paternity form at the hospital when their child is born, if there are any doubts about who the natural father is, then a DNA test can be done instead of signing the Acknowledgement of Paternity form.
  • The most common way that paternity is tested is through a cotton swab that is rubbed inside of the mouth to collect DNA material. These swabs are highly reliable with most results coming back 99.9%.

Elizabeth A. Richards believes that Paternity Affidavits should be done away with. In some cases, the court refuses to overturn a Paternity Affidavit even when the signer has been proven not to be the father. This is a dangerous instrument if signed by someone who was misled into believing he was the fathre of a child.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to never sign a Paternity Affidavit without consulting with an experienced family law attorney first.

Fatherhood, Child Custody & Visitation Rights

Under state law, establishing paternity does not automatically give the natural father visitation rights. In Oklahoma, the mother is presumed to have sole custody of a child born outside of marriage. However, the mother and father can agree on visitation, and the father has the right to go to court to seek visitation.

If you are interested in establishing paternity for a child support case or seeking visitation rights of your child, we urge you to contact Elizabeth A. Richards Attorney at Law to schedule a free consultation. As an Oklahoma family lawyer with 26 years of legal experience, Elizabeth A. Richards can you provide you with the effective legal representation you need!

Elizabeth A. Richards

Attorney at Law

Elizabeth A. Richards Attorney at Law - Oklahoma City Probate Lawyer
Located at 112 West Commerce Street Oklahoma City, OK 73109. View Map
Phone: (405) 788-4662
Local Phone: (405) 319-9696.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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