A putative father is one who does not have any legal relationship with their child but claims to be the child’s father. A putative father can also be the man whom the woman believes to be the child’s father. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services keeps a record of putative fathers in the putative fathers’ registry. This is a list of men who have provided a notice of intent of being a child’s father — the child must have been involved in adoption or parental rights’ termination.
The Putative Fathers registry also has the records of men who have been identified as fathers from records received by the Division of Vital Records, Department of Health. The Putative Father Registry of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services also acts as the clearing house of fathers whose names can be removed from the list when a child is adopted or when the parental rights of the child are considered after termination. In such a case, it is normal for the mother to claim medical support or child support from the father.
The staff of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services regularly helps individuals file claims of paternity. This department works closely with the Vital Records Division of the Tennessee Department of Health. The staff members enter the notice in the Registry when any man claims to be a father by filing a notice of intent or signing an acknowledgement of paternity. Once the father’s name is put in the Registry, it remains there on a permanent basis.
The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services handles about 5,000 requests every year. Most of these are requests for clearances of men as fathers.
Source: Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, “The Putative Father Registry,” Accessed on July 2, 2015