Columbia Paternity Attorney
The concept of paternity refers to a child’s father, but the relevant legal issues encompass extensive rights and obligations for both parents. Under the Tennessee statute on parentage, a child’s mother and father are legally presumed to be the parents if they were married at the time of conception or birth. For unmarried parents, there are legal requirements for establishing paternity. Once established, parentage raises important questions about child custody, visitation, and support.
Mothers and fathers may seek to resolve the paternity issue for legal and financial reasons, but also to support the parent-child relationship. As such, it is crucial to retain experienced representation regardless of your position. Our team at Fort, Holloway, & Rogers, LLC can explain options for establishing parentage and assist with the requirements, so please contact us to speak with a Columbia paternity attorney. We are happy to set up a consultation to discuss specifics, but a summary should help you understand the basics.
How Parentage is Established in Tennessee
As mentioned, a child born to married parents is legally presumed to be their offspring. This presumption can be rebutted by evidence to the contrary, which may come up when a putative father believes the child is biologically his own. For unmarried parents, there are two options for establishing paternity:
- Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAoP): When parents agree on the identity of the father, the parties can execute this document to make parentage official. It must be signed by mother and father, and their signatures must be notarized. Hospitals have the form for a VAoP available, so you can sign at the child’s birth to have the father’s name included on the birth certificate.
- Paternity Lawsuits: Either the mother or father can file a petition for a paternity lawsuit, in which a judge decides the child’s parentage. In these cases, the most powerful evidence will be DNA test results.
Extensive Implications for Establishing Paternity
Once parentage is legally determined by VAoP or a court order, it triggers rights and responsibilities for both parents. An important factor is child support. The father will be obligated to contribute to the costs of raising the child, so the mother can pursue amounts based upon child support guidelines. Paternity also gives the father the right to seek custody and parenting time. Fort, Holloway, & Rogers, LLC is ready to assist with enforcement of child support obligations, and we help fathers exercise their right to a relationship with the child.
Plus, our Columbia paternity lawyers can explain additional issues that arise with parentage, including:
- The child’s inheritance rights;
- Eligibility for public and private benefits through the father; and
- Access to the father’s genetic history.
You Can Rely on a Columbia Paternity Lawyer for Legal Help
If you would like additional information on establishing parentage and how it affects your interests, please contact Fort, Holloway, & Rogers, LLC. You can schedule a consultation with a skilled Columbia paternity attorney by calling 931-901-2300 or filling our online form. Once we learn more about your circumstances, we can advise you on your options and assist with the legal requirements.