As an unmarried father, the process of legally seeking custody or visitation rights to your child is known as establishing paternity. Receiving court approval of parental rights can allow you to spend time and build a meaningful relationship with your children. It also opens doors to extending your healthcare benefits and provide steady custody support to take care of rest of your child’s day to day needs.
Despite your reasons for wanting to establish legal paternity, it’s important to understand the logistics before moving forward. There is a process you can follow both at the birth and after the birth of your child. And you might be able to complete the process with or without genetic testing.
Acknowledgment of paternity
Oklahoma residents can complete a form through the state’s human services office called an acknowledgment of paternity. Parents can fill out this form at the hospital, following the birth of your child. If you didn’t take the opportunity to complete the form at your child’s birth, then you can acquire a copy through a state’s human services office, child support office or a county or state department of health office. Keep in mind that both you and your child’s other parent must sign the form to successfully achieve paternity rights.
Genetic testing and legal action
When both parents agree to sign the acknowledgement of paternity form, then a genetic test might not be a requirement. However, when either parent is unsure about a who the father of the child might be, then a DNA test can be a useful tool.
It’s worth mentioning that if your child’s other parent isn’t willing to sign a form to establish paternity, then you can file a motion for custody or visitation at a district court. Through a court hearing, you might have no option but to take DNA test if the judge orders you to do so.
You might be unsure about when to sign the acknowledgement form or if voluntarily taking a DNA test is in your best interest. Consulting an experienced family law attorney can help get expert guidance as you navigate the legal ins and outs of establishing paternity in Oklahoma.