Birth fathers have several rights under Tennessee Legal Code. For example, birth fathers have the right to have communication with their child, to receive medical and education records of their child, to be notified regarding any emergency circumstance involving their child, and to send correspondence to their child. Regardless if they are married or unmarried, fathers should know that they do have certain assurances regarding the rights of their child according to the law.
To learn more about the rights of unmarried fathers in Chattanooga, get in touch with a legal professional today.
The law defines a legal father as someone listed on a child’s birth certificate, someone who has filled out a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity for their child, or a person’s whose paternal rights have been confirmed by a court.
A putative father is somebody who a mother alleges to be the father of the child or a father who raises his hand and claims they are the father of the child. Typically, a court will want to confirm that through DNA testing. If a party is married to a mother, even if that person is not actually the biological father of that child, they would be presumed to be father until DNA testing is conducted and confirms another party is actually the father of that child.
If a father is unmarried to the mother, the mother has sole custodial and visitation rights until determined otherwise by court order. Under this circumstance, it is important for fathers to know that they do have rights to custody and visitation of the child, but they must go to a court to get it. With the help of an attorney who is experienced in this area and can walk a father through the process of confirming their parental rights in the local area.
There is a putative father registry that must be consulted every time the father files an adoption case. If a putative father registry has information about a father and a child that does not match whenever that registry is consulted in an adoption process, a flag will be raised and that father is required to have notice about the adoption of the child.
Anybody may petition for parental rights the determination of parental rights and adoption process. Though there is no limitation on who can petition, the court is limited in their ability to terminate the parental rights of parent since those are highly regarded constitutional rights and there must be some sort of circumstance that allows parties to terminate those rights.
If the trial court determines that it is appropriate to terminate a father’s rights, the father has the right to appeal that case to the Appellate Court and they also have the right to an expeditious appeal, because of the grave circumstances of having their parental rights terminated.
Family cases are often stressful to litigate considering the sensitivity regarding the rights of a child. Unmarried fathers especially face an uphill battle when trying to secure the visitation rights of their child, however, the court does allow unmarried fathers certain rights pending a decision.
An attorney familiar with the rights of unmarried fathers in Chattanooga can assist you with having a court grant certain custody and visitation regarding your child. To learn more, or for legal guidance, schedule a consultation today.