The establishment of proper paternity concerning a child is key to the future of every member of a family. Not only is determining the true father of a child essential for that child to have a male presence in their life, but it also determines the rights and obligations of the parents.
For many children, paternity is assumed under the law. This applies in situations where the parents are married or when the child was born within 300 days of the end of a marriage. However, if the parents are not married, courts must use other methods to determine parentage.
A Chattanooga paternity lawyer could help mothers, fathers, and other parties who wish to obtain a legal ruling on the fatherhood of a child. This could include working to complete voluntary acknowledgments of paternity, pursuing cases in family court to establish a father’s rights over a child, and even working to contest a mother’s claim that a man is the parent of a child. Reach out to an experienced law firm today.
There are three legal paths whereby parties can gain legal acknowledgment of a child’s paternity. The most straightforward is when the child is the product of a marriage. Under Tennessee Code Annotated §36-2-304, a man is rebuttably the father of a child if the child is born in wedlock or if the child is born within 300 days of a marriage coming to an end. However, either party may contest this assumption.
The second way to establish paternity is through a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. This form carries the legal effect of naming a man as the father of a child. To give this form legal effect, both parents must sign the form in the presence of a notary public.
The final method of establishing paternity requires the intervention of the court. According to TN Code Ann. §36-2-305, a child who has reached the age of majority, the child’s mother, a prospective father, or even the Department of Human Services may ask the court to consider this question. When evaluating the case, the court has the power to order all parties to submit to genetic testing to determine the child’s parentage. A father’s rights law firm could provide more information about the legal options available to determine who the father of a child may be.
Establishing the parentage of a child has massive legal ramifications for all members of a family. For a child, that person has the right to know who their parents are and to be considered a full member of a family. This includes the right to be a presumed beneficiary in wills and insurance plans.
A mother has the right to expect support for their child if the father does not live in the same home. Conversely, a father must pay all required support for the care and maintenance of the child. These orders only apply if the man is the legally-recognized father of a child.
Fathers also retain rights to their children that only apply after court-acknowledged paternity. In Chattanooga, father’s rights include legal custody, physical custody, and child support from a mother if the father retains primary custody. As a result, establishing the paternity of a child is a major event in the lives of every member of a family. A Chattanooga paternity lawyer could help to represent any party who wishes to answer this vital question.
When a child is born out of wedlock in Tennessee, the mother is considered to be the primary and sole custodian of the child until it is determined otherwise by a court. A father has no legal rights to visitation of the child until a court puts in orders for the visitation protocol. It is extremely important for fathers in such situations to make sure they get their case before the court to have their visitation rights put in writing.
A birth father could appeal a mother’s request to terminate parental rights. If a mother attempts to terminate a father’s rights, there must be an adoptive father taking the place of the current father. It is usually a stepfather when there is a biological or legal father that is not involved in the child’s life.
The mother must then prove that there are grounds to terminate the father’s rights at the trial court level. If a father’s rights are terminated at the trial court level, the father has the right to appeal the ruling and those cases are given priority. By working with an attorney, father’s could assert their rights and maintain their roll in the child’s life.
Determining the father of a child has massive emotional and legal implications when it comes to not just father’s rights, but the rights of every family member. Mothers have the right to expect monetary support from fathers. Fathers have the right to spend time with their child and to petition a court for joint custody. Children have the right to know who their father is and to enjoy legal status as an heir or beneficiary.
However, these rights and obligations only apply if a court recognizes parentage. This can be accomplished through a voluntary acknowledgment or as the product of a court case. Many of these cases may involve genetic testing.
A Chattanooga father’s rights lawyer could help any party with questions concerning the paternity of a child. Attorneys could work to represent mothers, potential fathers, and men who wish to contest a mother’s belief that they are the father of a child. Contact a Chattanooga paternity attorney who has experience navigating father’s rights cases today to learn more.
By: Kevin K.
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