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      How Can Unmarried Parents Establish Paternity in Sumner County?

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      Father’s Rights

      According to Tennessee law, if a child is born out of wedlock, if there isn’t a child custody order in place, the mother of the child will have custody. This fact can be incredibly troubling for a father who wants legal rights to their child but isn’t married to the mother.

      In some cases, the parents can agree to a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity and have it notarized, allowing the father to have rights to the child, add his name to the birth certificate, and give the child his last name. It’s not a requirement to both be present at the time of the notary.

      If the mother doesn’t agree to parenting time for the father, the father must pursue a court order of custody from a competent jurisdiction to ensure he has rights to his child.

      While some parents can co-parent effectively without restrictions or impossible challenges imposed, some mothers choose not to allow the father to see the child or be a part of their life, forcing the hand of the father to seek legal options.

      In other cases, the mother may agree to parenting time with the father but impose unnecessary or unrealistic conditions for him to abide by. Alternatively, she may deny access to his child, which may make him choose to see legal options.

      A Complaint to Establish Paternity

      In Tennessee, the father wishing to obtain access to their child can file a complaint to establish paternity in the county in which he resides. He may also choose to file the complaint in the county where the mother or the child resides. However, if the child is involved in a pending adoption, the father must file the complaint in the county where the child’s adoption proceedings are occurring.

      It’s essential to adhere to these parameters to avoid delays or denials of the petition. The statute of limitations applies to establishing paternity and allows the father to file the complaint before the child is born, after the birth of the child, and until three years after the child has reached legal age. The legal age in Tennessee is considered 18, so the father would have until the child reaches the age of 21 to pursue parental rights.

      Important Reasons To Establish Paternity

      In addition to the ability to be a part of your child’s life, there are other viable reasons to establish paternity for your child.

      Medical reasons, for example, are essential in establishing paternity. The child or parent may wish to know whether there are significant health issues that the child may inherit, such as disorders or diseases. Insurance eligibility may also be of concern, and establishing paternity can resolve that.

      Benefits such as veterans’ benefits, social security, life insurance, and inheritance rights can all be covered by establishing paternity.

      More Reasons Why Paternity is Important to Establish

      If child support is needed, establishing paternity is a critical component of this. By pursuing paternity legally, if it’s proven who the child’s father is, the mother can likely seek child support as a result. This determination can be crucial to avoiding financial distress and continuing to care for the child adequately. Without legal paternity established, the mother won’t be able to require anyone to help her with financial support for the child.

      All of us deserve to know where we came from. Establishing paternity for a child can help to foster their emotional well-being.

      Court Ordered Parenting Rights in Tennessee

      There are nine court-ordered parenting rights in Tennessee. See the complete list below;

      1. Each parent is allowed telephone conversations with their child at least twice a week that are not impeded. These calls must be at reasonable times and for reasonable durations.
      2. The right to send mail to your child. This right also includes prohibiting the other parent from censoring or destroying the mail and ensuring the child gets the unopened and original letter, package, or other material.
      3. Receive notice within 24 hours of significant illness, hospitalization, or death of a child.
      4. The right to receive copies of the child’s medical, treatment, or other relevant health records. This requirement also includes the parents having access to the physicians’ contact information where treatment is provided.
      5. The right to receive copies of the child’s educational reports from the school. This information can include teachers’ names, class schedules, test scores, attendance records, and more.
      6. Freedom from unwarranted derogatory comments made in the child’s presence regarding the other parent or the other parent’s family.
      7. An itinerary is provided with destinations, contact phone numbers, and more when the child is leaving the state for more than 48 hours.
      8. The right to have access to and participate in the child’s education and other special events, such as school lunch with a parent or sporting events.
      9. A 48-hour notice, within reason, for athletic or church activities, school and extracurricular activities.

      Our Pride and Joy

      Children have always been our pride and joy; our instincts to protect and provide for them run deep. If you need to establish paternity and aren’t sure where to start, contact our office at (615) 502-4336 today.

      We offer a free initial consultation to help our clients fully understand their options and where they are coming from. As with almost anything that involves our kids, the issues are almost always emotionally charged. Our team has vast experience in these cases, and we are prepared to aggressively advocate for you as needed.

      We will help you determine where the roadblocks are and formulate a strategy that ensures you have what you need as a parent and can establish time with your child or financial support for your child.

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