Bringing a child into the world is a time of great changes for parents. Some of these changes may be joyous, others anxiety-provoking. Not having clear and legal lines of paternity can produce significant anxiety in either parent.
A petition to establish paternity in Oklahoma is one way to resolve the issue of the identity of an unborn child’s father. The biological mother may bring such an action, but so may the biological father or the presumptive father (i.e.: the mother’s husband or partner.) In fact, once the child is born, the child may also petition the court to establish paternity in Oklahoma.
There are many reasons why such a petition can and should be filed in Tulsa. And there are good reasons to do it prior to the birth of the child.
Reasons to File a Petition Before Birth
Issues of custody, support, visitation can all be ruled upon once paternity is established. Filing the petition provides a basis for the court to order DNA testing to establish who the father is. The paternity issue cannot however, be finalized until after the birth of the child. So why file before the child is born?
People move. Memories fade over time. As part of the petition process, the parties can engage in discovery. Discovery is a process that allows the parties to delve into the facts and evidence that might support the claim. It allows not only DNA testing to be ordered, but also allow parties and witnesses to be deposed.
A deposition is testimony taken in an informal setting, but it has the same force and effect as testimony given in a courtroom. This allows the parties to question each other. It also allows the parties to question others who might support the paternity claim or have a clear defense to the claim.
Filing a paternity in Oklahoma claim also lays the groundwork for early resolution of custody, support, and visitation issues. These issues can be full of anxiety for new parents and filing early can alleviate this stress early, leaving time and emotional space to bond with the child once it is born.
FAQ: Petition to Establish Paternity in Oklahoma
In some ways, a petition to establish paternity in Oklahoma is like filing a Tulsa civil litigation action. The petitioner files a claim with the court and then serves the responding party with the papers. The responding party can then file responding papers, and the discovery process, including DNA testing, can begin. (Okla. Stat. tit. 10 § 7700-611)
If the father is not available for testing, the biological mother may be able to have the court order testing of the father’s immediate relatives. Without their consent, you need a court order to obtain DNA testing of these relatives.
Responding to the petition confers the court with personal jurisdiction over the respondent that it might not have in other circumstances. Thus, if the responding party has not lived in Oklahoma or had other dealings with the state sufficient to confer personal jurisdiction, responding to the petition will confer personal jurisdiction.
Free Consultation with a Tulsa Paternity Attorney
This is a sensitive time. And it passes quickly. To preserve your rights and those of your unborn child, contact a family law attorney today. For a free consultation with a Tulsa paternity lawyer, call the Divorce Law Office of Tulsa at 918-924-5526.