Even if a man and a woman have been in a committed, exclusive relationship for years, when a child is born to an unmarried woman in Tennessee, her partner is not automatically recognized as the child’s legal father. Unless legal action is taken, all of the involved parties, including the child, could suffer. Legal paternity is necessary for a father to secure custody rights and for a mother to obtain child support. At Grant & Sain, PLLC, we are attorneys who assist area clients in all types of paternity proceedings. From our office in Jackson, our firm works to achieve successful results in matters where fatherhood is in unsettled.
The simplest way to establish legal fatherhood is to have both parents complete a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity shortly after the child is born. By doing so, the father’s name can be included on the infant’s birth certificate and he will have full paternal rights even if he never marries the child’s mother, or they wed and later get a divorce. However, this option is only available if both the mother and putative father agree to complete the paternity acknowledgement.
In cases where a disagreement exists regarding legal parentage, one of the parties must petition the court for an order to establish parentage. These matters are typically decided based on the result of a DNA test. Whether you are a man who wants the legal right to spend time with his son or daughter, a woman seeking the child support she’s entitled to or a man who believes he is being incorrectly named as the biological father of a child, our seasoned Tennessee family law attorneys can help.
A man who is granted legal paternity does not instantly receive child custody and visitation rights. Rather, formally establishing parentage gives a father the ability to request an order that mandates parenting time for him. As in other situations, matters of custody and visitation are determined by what is in the best interests of the child. If you are the biological father of a youth and your effort to establish legal paternity is being contested by the child’s mother, we can handle both the paternity case and the subsequent custody concerns.
Mothers who do not live with the man who fathered their son or daughter must obtain an order of parentage so they can compel the father to provide child support payments. Even if you are currently in a relationship with a man who is contributing to your son or daughter’s financial needs, you should promptly petition for a paternity order in case the relationship ends and the man is not forthcoming with child support. An order of parentage might also be critical for a child seeking an inheritance, health insurance, Social Security payments or veteran’s benefits associated with their father.
Grant & Sain, PLLC in Jackson assists Tennessee clients with a full range of paternity law concerns. To make an appointment with an accomplished family lawyer, please call 731-256-7477 or contact us online.