In such a case, the Father has no right to demand visitation with the child, and will be told by law enforcement, who are often contacted in such disputes, that it is a civil matter for which the individual will need to obtain the help of an attorney.
In most cases, paternity of the child will not be disputed as the Father’s name will be on the child’s birth certificate or the parties will have executed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, whereby the Father’s name is added to the child’s birth certificate. If paternity of the child is in dispute the Court will order DNA testing. An important note here is that in Montgomery County, the Juvenile Courts will almost always order that the child’s last name be changed to reflect that of the Father’s, without regard to the wishes of the Mother or other interested parties.
The Filing of A Petition To Establish Paternity & To Set A Permanent Parenting Plan Will Generally Accomplish Three Things.
First: The Father will be named the “legal” Father of the child. This is different than being named simply on the child’s birth certificate, and gives the Father legal custody rights to the subject child. Additionally, if the Father is not named on the child’s birth certificate, the Court will order the Father to be added, and that the child’s last name be changed to reflect the Father’s last name.
Second: The Court will determine which parent will be the Primary Residential Parent, and will allot parenting time to the parties based on a best interest’s analysis
Third: A child support amount will be set using the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines. Download a child support calculator by clicking here.