Tennessee is known as a “Mother’s state”. This means that when children are born out of wedlock, the Father has no rights to parent the child. When the parents are married, the husband is considered the father of children when they’re born during the marriage. If the parents aren’t married at the time of the birth, legal action must be taken to establish paternity or the child has no legal father.
Paternity may be established with a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity signed in front of a notary or through a Court Order. This Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity is a simple legal process for an unmarried mother to establish paternity with the child’s biological father. This allows the father’s name to be added to the birth certificate, and if the parents choose, for the child to have his last name too. To get this process started in the court system with the help of a paternity rights attorney from The Integrity Law Firm, PLLC, the Mother or Father would have to file a Petition to establish paternity. A Petition may be filed in the county where the mother lives, where the father resides and/or where the child is located.
The petition should include information about who the parties are, where they live, why they believe they are the father of the child, and lastly include a request for DNA testing. This petition is filed with the court and served to the respondent. The respondent then has thirty days to respond to the lawsuit. This filing must occur before a child turns 21, which is 3 years after the age of majority in Tennessee. Temporary child support can be petitioned for if a party motions for it.
When you believe you are the biological father of a child or if you are the mother of the child and want to establish who the father of your child is, contact one of our legal professionals at The Integrity Law Firm, PLLC. We can help you file a petition and even pursue child support too. We serve all of Chattanooga, Red Bank, Soddy-Daisy, East Ridge, Collegedale, Hixson, Ooltewah, Lookout Mountain, Signal Mountain, and Harrison, TN. Call 423-498-5001 today to learn more about establishing parental rights and paternity.