Establishing paternity is necessary when two unmarried parents give birth to a child. When parents are married, Oklahoma assumes that they are the legal and biological parents of any child they give birth to. If unmarried parents do not establish paternity, only the parent who gave birth to the child will have crucial parental rights, such as the right to guide their child’s education and the responsibility to provide financial support. A paternity attorney in Oklahoma City can help parents establish these crucial rights.

When both parents agree to establish their child’s paternity, the process is fairly straightforward. It can be more complicated if either parent contests paternity or if a married couple has a child whose paternity is contested.

Establishing Paternity in Oklahoma City

There are two methods that parents can use to establish their child’s paternity. These are:

Signing an Acknowledgment of Paternity

Signing an acknowledgment of paternity is the simplest way for parents to establish paternity, as it only requires both parents to consent to signing the form. If the parent who gave birth to the child is married to someone who is not the other biological parent, that spouse must sign a denial of paternity prior to the acknowledgment being signed.

The acknowledgment of paternity must be signed in front of a witness, and it is typically signed in the hospital after the child’s birth. If for any reason parents do not sign the agreement at the hospital, they can obtain and sign it later. The acknowledgment form is online, in the state’s Department of Human Services, in child support offices, and at other relevant locations.

By signing the acknowledgment, both parents are waiving their rights to DNA testing for paternity, so it is important that both parents have no doubts about the child’s biological parentage. If either parent is unsure, they should not sign the acknowledgment and instead file a court petition for DNA testing.

Filing a Court Petition

A court petition for court-ordered paternity can be filed when parents are not sure of the child’s biological parents. It can also be filed when the biological parent is claiming another potential parent as the biological parent, and that individual does not agree. It is also filed if a potential parent is claiming parentage of the child and the parent who gave birth to the child does not agree.

If a single parent is in need of state support to care for their child, the Oklahoma child support services may file to establish paternity, thus making the other biological parent financially responsible for their child.

A court petition for establishing paternity will result in an order for DNA genetic testing. Typically, this is done through a mouth swab of the potential parent and the child. If the test shows that they are the biological parent, then the court will establish both parents as the legal and biological parents of the child. At the same time, the court may also determine child support and child custody if the parents are living separately.

What Are the Benefits of Establishing Paternity?

There are several benefits for both parents to establish their paternity, and there are also many benefits for their children and their co-parent. These include:

  • A family is brought closer together.
  • The child receives financial support from both of their parents.
  • Both parents have the right to visit and spend time with their child.
  • Both parents have the right to make important decisions for their child.
  • The child has the right to inherit from both of their parents.
  • The child receives the other parent’s financial benefits, like Social Security benefits, health insurance, and other benefits.
  • Both parents have their names on the birth certificate.
  • The child has a sense of identity and improved mental and emotional health.
  • The child has access to both sides of their family’s medical history.


Q: How Long Does a Father Have to Establish Paternity in Oklahoma?

A: A father has until the child turns 18 to establish paternity. When a child only has one parent as their legal and biological parent, the other parent can establish themselves as the other legal and biological parent through an affidavit or through the court. If the parent wishes to establish paternity after the child has turned 18, the child must sign a form to consent to the establishment of paternity.

Q: How Do I Petition to Establish Paternity in Oklahoma?

A: The two main ways to establish paternity in Oklahoma are through an Acknowledgment of Paternity affidavit and by filing with the court. Those who can file a case with the court include:

  • The biological and legal parent
  • The parent who believes themselves to be the other biological parent
  • The child
  • A representative from Oklahoma Child Support Services

When the court is petitioned for a paternity action, both potential parents and the child must take DNA testing. If paternity is confirmed by this test, then both parents will have parental rights.

Q: What Is the New Paternity Law in Oklahoma?

A: The most recent paternity law in Oklahoma, made in 2022, established the rights of unmarried parents more fairly. When unmarried parents have a child together and sign a declaration of paternity, both parents have equal custody rights and responsibilities to their child.

Prior to this law, unmarried parents who gave birth to a child had full custody rights to their child, even if both parents signed an acknowledgment of paternity. If the other parent wanted any custody, they had to file with the court. The change allows more equal parental rights.

Q: How Do You Establish Parental Rights in Oklahoma?

A: If parents are married when they have a child, they do not have to establish parental rights in Oklahoma, as there is a presumption that they both have legal parental rights for their child. If parents are unmarried, they can sign an acknowledgment of paternity to establish their equal parental rights.

The form can be found at the hospital, online, the Department of Health, and other locations. Signing this acknowledgment makes both parents legal and biological parents of the child, and it gives them the same rights and responsibilities.

Determining Your Parental Rights in Oklahoma City

Establishing paternity can be a very important step in providing a child with the support they need. If you are not sure how to start the process of proving paternity, an attorney can help you. Contact Stange Law Firm today.