Prompt Actions Help In Contested Paternity
News of a pregnancy can be a cause for great joy, and at the same time may trigger deep anxiety. One source of anxiety prior to the birth of a child involves acknowledgement of paternity and contesting paternity. A petition to establish paternity filed in an Oklahoma court can help settle those questions.
Oklahoma’s Uniform Parentage Act provides a means for either a presumptive father or a biological father to file a petition to establish paternity in Oklahoma before a child is born. Actions taken in paternity proceedings before the birth of a child can include service of process, discovery subpoenas or motions to compel discovery, and some paternity testing. Okla. Stat. tit. 10 § 7700-611.
Why File a Paternity Action Before Birth?
Why would a father file a petition to establish paternity prior to birth of a child? One reason would be to establish a parental relationship and exercise your rights as a father. Recognition of paternity is obviously important in custody determinations.
An established parental relationship can also prevent the mother from offering a child for adoption without a father’s consent, and require a notice of adoption proceedings if adoption were initiated.
Another reason would be to challenge paternity. If the mother is not married to the child’s biological father, a petition to establish paternity filed prior to birth, along other actions such as being listed on the Oklahoma paternity registry and filing an acknowledgment of paternity after the child is born can lay the foundation for a lifelong parental relationship.
Paternity Tests and Denial of Paternity
Another circumstance a presumed father might file a petition to establish paternity would be to assert that someone else is the biological father. The most likely reason a man would be the presumed father would be because he is legally married to the child’s mother.
Certain live-in situations could, however, create a circumstance where a mother could file a paternity claim saying a housemate is her common law husband. As her husband, he is the presumed father of a child conceived with another man. A paternity test could determine otherwise. Prompt legal action could be essential to successful denial of paternity.
Paternity Test can Determine Parentage
In a petition to establish paternity, a court could require the mother, the presumed father and any alleged biological father to submit to a DNA test for paternity.
One reason to file for paternity before birth would be so testing could begin while the alleged or presumed fathers or his relatives can be located. If the alleged biological father is not available for testing, the court may order testing of his parents, his siblings, his other children and their mothers, his other relatives or anybody who has custody of his genetic material.
Unless a mother voluntarily provided prenatal DNA samples of the child with a doctor’s consent, a court may not order DNA testing of the child until after it is born. Okla. Stat. tit. 10 § 7700-502.
Personal Jurisdiction in Oklahoma Paternity Claims
There could be an instance when a person named in a petition to establish paternity might want to be cautious in their response. According to Oklahoma paternity law, a person may only be adjudicated to be a parent if the court has personal jurisdiction over that person.
If the person has never resided in Oklahoma with the child, is not married to the child’s mother, could not have conceived the child in Oklahoma and never provided prenatal care for the mother while residing in Oklahoma the court may lack personal jurisdiction over that person.
In those circumstances, a general appearance in a paternity case, or a responsive document that does not contest personal jurisdiction could have the effect of extending personal jurisdiction the court may not otherwise hold.
Petition to Establish Paternity Not Final Before Birth
In any case where a petition to establish paternity is filed before birth of a child, a court may not finalize a decision in a petition to establish paternity until after the child is born. If you have questions about paternity in Oklahoma, denial of paternity in Oklahoma or filing a petition to establish paternity before birth contact an Oklahoma paternity lawyer for detailed answers to your particular questions.
For a free consultation with a Tulsa paternity attorney, call Wirth Law Office at (918) 932-1681 or send your question using the form near the top of this page.