The term paternity refers to the legal determination of fatherhood. Paternity must be established for legal rights and responsibilities to extend to the father. In Oklahoma, paternity can be established in one of four ways: a presumption of paternity, acknowledgment of paternity, adjudication of paternity, and by adoption. In this blog post, we will discuss the presumption of paternity in Oklahoma.
The legislature created the presumption of paternity as a matter of public policy intended to benefit and protect children born during a marriage. The presumption is not waivable, if such a waiver thwarts the legislative policy the statute was designed to effectuate. Under the Oklahoma Uniform Parentage Act, the presumption of paternity generally attaches in one of three ways:
- If the child was born during the marriage.
- If the parents married after the child’s birth and the father took some affirmative action set out by statute to assert his paternity.
- If the father resided with the child and held the child out as his own for the first two years of the child’s life.
If a father meets one of the above, no further action is necessary to establish paternity. In addition, the presumption may only be rebutted (1) by a claim brought within the first two years of the child’s life, (2) by consent of the mother, biological father, and presumed father, or (3) at any time, if the presumed father and mother of the child neither cohabitated nor engaged in sexual intercourse during the probable time of conception and the presumed father never openly held out the child as his own.
The Presumption of Paternity in Oklahoma
Courts have strictly applied the two-year window in which to bring a challenge to the presumption, even in light of DNA evidence supporting the fact the presumed father is not the biological father. In Friend v. Tesoro, a presumed father sought to establish paternity of a child. The father was never married to the mother, but she lived with him during the first two years of the child’s life and he held the child out as his own. The mother challenged the determination of paternity alleging a DNA test showed conclusively he was not the father. The court applied the Uniform Parentage Act, and held the man met the statutory definition of a presumed father and any challenge was barred by the two-year window in which to bring an action.
If you have questions regarding the presumption of paternity in Oklahoma, contact one of our Tulsa family law attorneys for a consultation.
 Parker v. Ind. Sch. Dist. 1-003 of Okmulgee County, Oklahoma, 82 F3d 952 (10th Cir. 1996).
 10 O.S. 770-204.
 10 .O.S. 770-607.
 Friend v. Tesoro, 2007 OK CIV APP 78.