When a married couple has a baby the state of Oklahoma automatically assumes the husband is the legal father. However, this presumption of paternity is not extended to unmarried couples. This means if an unmarried couple has a baby the biological father is not assumed to be the legal father unless the couple legally establishes paternity.
How to Establish Paternity in Oklahoma
Unmarried couples can sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) or if a lawsuit is involved, a judge will declare paternity.
If couples choose to sign an AOP many of them will do so at the hospital or birthing center. Most hospitals will be equipped with the necessary personnel and paperwork to properly complete the AOP.
A witness’s signature will be required for an AOP, and the parents cannot use each other as witnesses. However, the hospital can usually provide a witness if need be. In addition to helping you fill the form out, the hospital can also help you file the form to ensure it’s done properly.
If you choose not to sign the AOP at the hospital there are several locations you can sign it at.
- Oklahoma State Department of Health
- Any county health department
- Any local child support office
- Division of Vital Health Records
If the parents sign an AOP they will forfeit the right to use genetic testing in the future. Signing an AOP also will establish certain rights for both the parents and the child.
- The father is both biological and legal father
- The father’s name will be on the child’s birth certificate
- The father is liable to pay child support and health insurance
- The child is eligible to receive inheritance from the father
If the parents do not agree on who is the baby’s daddy a lawsuit can be filed by either party. Once the case goes to trial the judge will decide if the accused father is in fact the legal father. While this is not nearly as exciting as Maury makes it out to be, the judge will most likely use some form of DNA testing to make their decision.
Once all evidence and tests results have been reviewed by the judge, they will make a decision. The judge’s decision can not only dictate legal paternity, but also certain financial arrangements like child support.
Proving paternity in Oklahoma is always a good idea because it can greatly impact the child’s future as well as the parents. If you are in a paternity dispute call the experienced family law attorneys at Baysinger, Henson, Reimer & Cresswell.