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Franklin Divorce Attorney > Blog > Paternity > FAQs about Paternity in Tennessee

FAQs about Paternity in Tennessee


It is truly something to marvel at, the call to action that parent’s feel when they sense that their child is threatened. This is not something reserved solely for mankind either. All throughout the animal kingdom you will find parents living solely for their children. Giving their lives for their children. When you consider the time, investment, and love that we give our kids, it is easy to begin to understand why we want to step up to protect them. Particularly when they are too young to care for themselves.

The issues over paternity are more complicated. While every parent wants what is best for their child, those same parents may be at odds over how to best accomplish that. Far too frequently in child custody cases, the issue of paternity arises. But why is paternity important, and how might it affect your rights moving forward? This article aims to address some of the basics.

Paternity and Child Support, Custody, and Visitation

Apart from a child’s wellbeing being served by knowing who their father is and being able to develop a relationship with them, establishing paternity has several real and distinct effects.

First, child support obligations are based upon a parent-child tie. “Tie” is a term deliberately used here, because the requirement for a parent, including a father, to provide support to their child is not predicated on the father and child having a “relationship” in the way most think of that term. Even if a father has never developed a relationship with their child, that father is still obligated to give financial support toward the upbringing of that child. This obligation would only ever not exist or cease to exist if the parental rights were never established, or were officially terminated. This means that by establishing paternity the child will become entitled to child support.

Establishing paternity is also how a father establishes a claim to custody and/or visitation rights.

Presumptions Regarding Paternity

Fortunately for many couples, you will never be required to establish the paternity of a child’s father. Laws have been developed that establish a presumptive father under many situations. This means that if your child was born under the circumstances described under the law, the paternity of the father is presumed and does not have to be proved out before the rights and requirements of fatherhood are established.

These presumptive circumstances apply when:

  • The child’s parents were married to one another at the time the child was born, or 300 days prior to the birth.
  • The parents were married after the child’s birth and that man registered as a putative father, consented to be listed as the father on the child’s birth certificate, or consented to provide child support for the child.
  • The man brought the child into his home and the child was held out/represented to be that man’s child.

It is important to remember that these circumstances provide a presumption of paternity. While these circumstances create rights and obligations, they are not presumptions of paternity, they are not unassailable. If the presumptive father is not the true biological father of the child, the biological father might successfully rebut the presumed paternity.

Contact Fort, Holloway & Rogers

Establishing fatherhood is critical for so many reasons. For help in your own Tennessee case moving forward, contact the esteemed Franklin paternity lawyers at Fort, Holloway & Rogers.




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