Paternity Lawyers in Clarksville Helping to Get Your Questions Answered
Being a father can be one of the most beautiful things in the world, but what happens when the mother of your child is trying to keep you from being able to establish and nurture that relationship? Unfortunately, this scenario isn’t uncommon, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. There are ways to petition the courts to have paternity legally established so you can take the first step toward having a more consistent relationship with your child. Get some answers to common questions about establishing paternity in Tennessee below.
If you want to be able to have regular contact with your children and develop a consistent relationship, it’s important to know what your parental rights are. If you don’t yet have paternity established legally, petitioning the courts is the first step. Find out what this looks like and get help along the way by calling our law office. We offer free consultations so you can learn more about our services and how we can represent your rights.
How Does the Court Decide Legal Paternity?
In general, a child born during a marriage is legally assumed to be the child of the husband. But things get more complicated if the couple never married. In these cases, paternity can be established by either voluntarily acknowledging that you are the father or through a paternity test that compares your DNA with the child. It’s important to note that not all mothers want the biological father involved in their children’s lives, and you could be in for a fight. If you think that the mother may try to keep you from establishing paternity, such as by refusing a paternity test or leaving the area with the child, it’s important to talk to a family law attorney before you take any steps forward. They can help you anticipate what might happen and ensure you have a strategy in place.
Do I Have Any Parental Rights If We Aren’t Married?
Many people are under the mistaken impression that signing the birth certificate automatically grants them parental rights, but this isn’t the case. In the state of Tennessee, if the parents aren’t married, the mother automatically has full physical and legal custody of the child until paternity is established and the father petitions for rights. If the mother is keeping you from seeing the child, you have to go through the legal channels to have custody and visitation established.
What Is the Process for Establishing Paternity?
If you are not already deemed the legal father of a child through marriage, establishing paternity can be as simple as filing a document known as a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. However, if the mother of the child disagrees and says that you are not the father of the child, you may have to ask the courts to order a paternity test to have paternity confirmed once and for all. Once the Voluntary Acknowledgment of the Paternity test is processed, the courts can begin the process of awarding parental rights, including court orders for child support, custody, and visitation.
Do I Need a Lawyer If I Am Establishing or Challenging Paternity?
If you are trying to establish or challenge paternity for a child, it’s crucial that you have experienced legal representation. These types of cases can be complex, and it’s common for the other party to do everything in their power to stall the case to keep it from moving forward. Having a paternity lawyer on your side can ensure that you know what your rights are and how to petition the courts to uphold those rights legally, even if the mother isn’t cooperating.
Fighting for your rights to your children is an emotional process, and having to deal with the legal aspect at the same time compounds the stress. But having knowledgeable legal representation through a family law attorney who can guide you through the steps and answer your questions can help. Call 931-236-2711 to connect with one of our team members to find out more.