Tulsa Attorney BlogWhat Are the Legal Rights of a Father to a Child Born outside of Marriage in Oklahoma?

You Have the Right to Get Rights Established


Oklahoma family law lawyerVideo Transcribed: Oklahoma lawyer James Wirth here talking about our family law question of the day. I get calls from potential clients all day long and answer a lot of legal questions, and sometimes certain ones come up over and over again so I’ve decided to go ahead and make some videos on those so we can get answers out to people without them having to call.

So here’s the question we’ve got today. What are the legal rights of a father in Oklahoma when the parents aren’t married? So that’s a good question. We get it commonly and unfortunately for the father, if you’ve got a child that’s born outside of a marriage, you have no rights, no rights whatsoever, except for the right to get those rights established. So until you get into court to get a paternity order, custody order, visitation order, you don’t have any rights, mom’s got de facto sole custody, what she says goes, and you’ve got to go by that.

So even if you’re still in a relationship with mom, even if you guys get along well, even if you guys have an agreement regarding how to handle things, she could change that at any moment unilaterally and there’s nothing you can do with it until at that point you filed to get into court.

So it’s better to do it upfront, get your rights established, get a custody order in place, get a visitation order in place if you guys are separated, and have the rights delineated in a written document that’s signed by a judge so it’s enforceable and everybody knows what the expectations on everybody else are. If the couple is married, it’s different.

There’s a presumption of paternity there, and you’ve almost got de facto joint custody when you’re married. Neither party has rights that supersede the other parties when you’re married. When you’re not, completely different, dad’s got no rights till he establishes them. So if you’re a father, under those circumstances, go out and get your rights established. To speak with a Tulsa family attorney at my office, visit makelaweasy.com

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