Alleged father fails to appear
Under Oklahoma law, paternity can be adjudicated by default; that is, the father fails to appear after receiving proper service and the court finds that the man is in default and adjudicates him as father. The court then orders him to provide support for the child. Before this occurs, however, CSS staff and the court must ensure that the father had notice of the court date and was given the opportunity to appear. Courts do not look favorably on defaults, and CSS should work to minimize the number of cases where paternity is established by default. If there are multiple alleged fathers, defaults are not in the best interest of the customer.
Alleged father declines GT
CSS wants paternity determined by genetic testing whenever possible. If father declines genetic testing, CSS and the mother have the right to request a genetic test, even if the father does not.
- Notify father that this is the only opportunity to request genetic testing;
- Be sure father is aware of cost factors (no upfront, low cost, he will not have to pay if excluded);
- If there are multiple alleged fathers or it seems appropriate for the case, take to State’s Attorney to determine how to handle this situation; and
- If no genetic testing is ordered and father admits paternity, father should sign an Order for Paternity or a temporary order if all issues cannot be resolved on the court date.
New information at hearing re: paternity, AOP, or marriage
If parties or other information indicates that there is a previously established father that CSS did not know about, staff should not proceed with the paternity action, but should instead refer the case to the State’s Attorney for further action.
Parties request GT on NOSO or NOSD, or during an enforcement action.
Sometimes parties appear on other actions and request genetic testing. In these cases, the parties are actually attempting to challenge the paternity determination that has already been made. Under CSS policy, staff cannot agree to disestablish paternity. These cases should be referred to the State’s Attorney for a review of the facts of the case.
Remember the CSS Mission Statement: “To enhance the well being of children, we establish, monitor and enforce a reliable source of support for the families we serve.” We best serve that mission when we work to find the right father for the right child, ensure that all parties receive a fair opportunity to participate in the legal proceedings, and establish and maintain a reliable source of support for the child.
Resource: Child Support Training Minute: Identifying Paternity Red Flags
10 O.S. § 7700-101 & following
56 O.S. § 238.3B
OAC 340:25-5-176 & 176.1