Can An Unwed Father Get Custody of His Child in Okmulgee County

Unwed Father Get Custody

There are many obstacles ahead of an unwed father getting custody of their children in Okmulgee County. However, it is entirely possible for an unwed father to obtain custody. This all depends on if certain legal requirements are met, and specific steps have been followed. As a result, a man who asserts himself as the father must take legal steps to ensure his rights. Here, we’ll discuss what rights you have as an unwed father in Okmulgee County and options you have to get custody,

Understanding Paternity

Unlike mothers, fathers do not have an inherent legal right to their children at birth if they are unmarried. This makes the first and most important step for an unwed father seeking custody or visitation rights is the establishment of paternity. Because of this, it’s the only way to legally identify a man as the biological father of a child. In Oklahoma, paternity can be established in several ways:

  1. Acknowledgment of Paternity: At the time of the child’s birth, both parents can sign an acknowledgment of paternity form. This is the simplest way to establish paternity and requires no additional testing.
  2. Administrative Process: Either parent can contact the Oklahoma Child Support Services to request assistance in establishing paternity. This could involve DNA testing if the mother agrees or if a court orders it.
  3. Judicial Process: An unwed father can file a petition in court to establish paternity. This often involves DNA testing if the paternity is contested.

After establishing paternity, unwed fathers have the same rights as divorced fathers to seek custody or visitation. This will establish custody, visitation, and child support obligations.

Custody Considerations for Unwed Fathers

Obtaining custody can be more challenging for unwed fathers, especially if the mother has been the primary caregiver. Oklahoma courts make custody decisions based on the best interests of the child, considering factors such as:

  • The emotional ties between the child and each parent.
  • Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs.
  • Each parent’s home environment.
  • The mental and physical health of each parent.
  • Any history of violence or substance abuse.

After analyzing each of these factors, plus any others they may see as necessary, the court will make their final decision. It’s important to note that the court does not want to prevent wanting fathers from seeing their children. If you can provide for the child and show you are fit as a parent, the court is more likely to side with you.

Types of Custody Available

Unwed fathers can seek several types of custody arrangements through the courts. One of these is legal custody, such as joint legal. This allows a parent to make important decisions about the child’s life, such as education and health care. Additionally, an unwed father may go about getting physical custody of the child. This determines where the child will live part or all of the time. An unwed father can seek either sole or joint physical custody. Although it isn’t impossible, a court is less likely to aware sole custody to a father that hasn’t been present since the birth. The reasoning is that there isn’t an existing relationship to justify it. However, it can be possible if the mother has been deemed unfit.

If full custody is not possible, unwed fathers can seek visitation rights. Depending on the circumstances, this may be supervised or unsupervised. If it is supervised, it can be a temporary arrangement until the court deems the father safe for unsupervised visitation. Before deciding what type of custody you wish to seek, think about what would be best for the child and how each type of agreement would impact your relationship with them. A family law attorney is the best person who would be able to guide you through this process beginning to end.

Steps for Unwed Father Getting Custody

For an unwed father to get custody, there’s a series of steps involved. The first one is he must file a petition for custody in the district court of Okmulgee County. After the filing, the mother must be formally notified of the custody petition at least 14 days before the hearing date. The court may require mediation to negotiate a custody agreement. However, if both parents can’t agree, a custody evaluation may be necessary.

If mediation is unsuccessful, the case will go to a hearing or trial. During this, both parents can present evidence supporting their custody claims. Afterwards, the judge will make a decision about what type of custody to award based on what is in the best interests of the child. This will include any child support that may be necessary to award to whichever party needs it.

Okmulgee Paternity Attorneys

For unwed fathers in Okmulgee County, obtaining custody can be a difficult process, but seeking legal help can make it easier. By following all of the needed steps, you will be able to have your best chance at gaining custody or visitation rights with your child. However, the final decision is made with the child’s best interests in mind.

If you want to appeal a child custody case, our team at Okmulgee Lawyers can help. For a free and confidential consultation with one of our child custody attorneys, call us at 918-621-8083 or click here to ask a free online legal question. To learn about other legal topics, check out our Okmulgee law blog.