Murfreesboro Tennessee Paternity Lawyers
Dedicated team guides parents seeking to establish paternity
When a child is born, if the child’s parents are married to each other, then the mother’s husband is considered the legal father of the child and his name will be listed on the child’s birth certificate. But what if the child’s parents are not married? In Tennessee, if a child is born and the parents of the child are not married to one another, then paternity must be established before the father’s name can be included on the child’s birth certificate. Establishing paternity is an emotional process and can be stressful for all parties involved. The caring, professional legal team at Dotson & Taylor Attorneys at Law in Murfreesboro is experienced in family law and paternity issues and expertly guides families through this process.
What exactly is “paternity”?
Literally speaking, the term “paternity” means fatherhood. In terms of the law, establishing paternity is the process of determining a child’s legal father and the associated rights and obligations of the father to the child. While every child has a biological father, not every child has a “legal” father; it is only once paternity has been established that that individual can be named the legal father of a child.
How is paternity established in Tennessee?
In Tennessee, paternity may be established in either of two ways: either “voluntarily” or “involuntarily”. Paternity is established voluntarily if the mother and father agree that the father is the biological father. In cases where the paternity of the child is in dispute, then paternity is established involuntarily through a court proceeding, the result of which is an “order of parentage” issued by the court. The first step in this process is the filing of a “Petition to Establish Parentage” at a court located in the county where either the mother, father, or child lives. This petition may be filed by the child’s mother or father, by the child through a guardian, or if the child is receiving public assistance then by the Tennessee Department of Human Services.
In situations where either the mother or father denies or is uncertain of paternity, DNA testing may be ordered by the court. Once DNA testing is complete, if the court determines that the father is indeed the biological father, the court will then issue an order of parentage. The father will then be the legal father and his name will be added to the child’s birth certificate. As part of the court proceeding to determine paternity, the court may also issue orders of child support, custody, and visitation.
Experience matters, so contact our Murfreesboro paternity lawyers today for guidance you can trust
If you are seeking to establish paternity for a child, it is important to understand your rights and how the paternity process works. Determining paternity can be an emotional, overwhelming time for family members. The qualified, experienced legal team at Dotson & Taylor Attorneys at Law in Murfreesboro provides compassion, understanding and skilled representation throughout this process. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation 615-692-1536 or contact us online.