Clarksville Paternity Lawyer
Mothers and fathers have many parental rights and responsibilities in Tennessee, such as the right to spend time with your child and the responsibility to provide support for your child. While maternity is established at birth, establishing legal paternity can be more complicated in some situations. However, it is important to establish paternity to gain legal rights and to ensure proper support is provided for a child.
McFarland Law regularly helps clients with paternity-related matters in the Clarksville area. If you have concerns about this topic, please do not hesitate to contact family law attorney Ryan K. McFarland for assistance.
If two people are married when a child is born, the husband of the mother will automatically be considered to be the legal father of the child. Both parents’ names will go on the birth certificate, and no further action must be taken to establish paternity. However, the situation can get more complicated if the two parents are not married at the time of the birth.
Voluntary Paternity - When parents are not married, they can still voluntarily agree regarding the legal paternity of their child. If they agree at the hospital or later on, they can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form in front of a notary and file it with the Tennessee Office of Vital Records. The acknowledged father will be added to the birth certificate and will have legal rights and responsibilities regarding the child. Although the signing of a Voluntary acknowledgment of paternity creates a legal relationship of father-and-child between the signer and the child, it alone does not give the father custody or visitation rights. To establish custody and visitation rights, the father must file an action in court for establishment of a permanent parenting plan order that asks the court to determine the father’s custody and visitation rights.
Involuntary Paternity - When one parent disputes paternity, a party asserting paternity can take the matter to court by filing a Petition to Establish Parentage. The court may order a DNA test, after which the court can issue an order declaring the child’s parentage. This results in legal paternity rights and responsibilities. The court will also issue orders regarding child support, child custody, and visitation during these proceedings.
There are different reasons why someone may want to initiate a paternity action in court, including:
A father wants to be declared a legal parent to have access to his child and be part of the child’s life.
A mother wants to have a father declared as a legal parent to receive child support and/or to create a predictable schedule of visitation that will be followed by the parties.
A child may also file a petition through a legal guardian, as well as the Department of Human Services.
Whether you are asserting paternity or denying paternity, there is a lot at stake in this type of case. A wrongful result can deny a father the right to have a relationship with his child or deny a mother and child the financial support they deserve under the law. No matter what role you play in a paternity case, it is essential that you have the help of an experienced Tennessee paternity lawyer.
McFarland Law regularly helps parents in a variety of child-related matters, including custody, child support, and paternity. If you have concerns about a family law matter, call 931-919-4376 or fill out our online contact form to get started and learn more about our services today.