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Alternative means to establishing paternity in Tennessee

In Tennessee, according to the Ann. Code §§ 36-2-302; 36-2-304(a), a father is the child's biological father when the child has been sired out of wedlock. The Department of Children's Services, Tennessee, establishes a registry of assumed fathers. Any person registered as a father in the putative registry will be notified if the child has been put up for adoption.

A putative father has a month to respond to the adoption notice and intervene in the adoption proceeding. In the event that the assumed father does not intervene, authorities will proceed according to the guidelines.

In Tennessee, there are certain methods for establishing a child's paternity. The court may order DNA testing in order to establish the child's paternity. Also, the child's parents must agree on the parentage of their child. If there is no such agreement between the child's parents, either parent may file a complaint about establishing paternity.

The complaint to establish paternity or parentage may be filed by the child if that child has reached a certain age. If the child has not reached that age yet, the complaint may be filed by a family member or a friend. The complaint may also be filed by the mother -- if the child's mother is not an adult, the complaint may be filed by the mother's parents or a guardian.

If a man believes that he is the child's father, he may file the complaint to establish paternity. Again, if the father is a minor, the father's guardian or any other representative may take such a step. The Department of Health and Human Services can also take the responsibility for establishing the child's paternity.

Source: ChildWelfare.gov, "The Rights of Unmarried Fathers," Accessed on July 25, 2015

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The Law Office of Steven C. Girsky
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