What Are A Father’s Rights In Custody And Support Matters In Tennessee?
For a legally married couple, the father’s rights are identical to the mother’s rights.
How Is Paternity Established In The State Of Tennessee?
It depends on whether or not this child is born to married or unmarried parents. If a couple is married when the child is born, the child is legally presumed to be the child of the husband. Even if the child is of a different race or not biologically the child of the husband, the law presumes that the child is the child of the husband. That presumption can be set aside under certain circumstances, but for a child born to a married couple, the husband is legally the dad.
If a child is born to a couple who is not married, the father has no rights whatsoever. It is a two-step process for the father to gain the same custodial rights as the mom. The first step is that he has to be legally declared the father, which is called “legitimated.” A father can become legitimized at the child’s birth by signing the birth certificate, although he is technically signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. At that point, the father will be legally recognized as the biological father.
The second way is for the father and the mother to go to the state of Tennessee and both of them declare under oath that the father is the father of the child and that would legitimate the father.
The third way is the father can go to court and have the court declare him the legal father of the child. This can be achieved by a sworn declaration of the parents or providing a DNA test that shows that he is the biological father of the child. Just being a biological father of a child does not mean that he is legally the father of the child. He has to go through one of those steps to get legitimated to be legally considered the father of the child.
Becoming a legal father of a child only gives a father responsibilities, it does not give a father any custodial rights. The main responsibility of a legal father is to support the child. Being declared the legal father of a child implies child support. To gain custodial rights, the only way that a father can do that is to go to court and apply for either a custody order or a parenting plan.
A parenting plan or a custody order will outline the types of parenting time that each parent will get. At that point, the father is considered to have equal custodial rights. When a child is born out of wedlock, the mother is automatically the legal custodian of the child. In some cases, the mother may not know who the dad is. That’s why unwed fathers have to take those additional steps in Tennessee to get both legal responsibilities and custodial rights. A potential father can demand a paternity test in Tennessee and he cannot refuse a legal court order to take a DNA test.
Does Establishing Paternity In Tennessee Mean That I Have Automatic Custody Of My Child?
No. Establishing paternity only means that you have responsibilities. It doesn’t give you custodial rights, but you are responsible to pay child support.
For more information on Father’s Rights And Paternity Cases In TN, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (423) 262-8964 today.