Fathers of children are treated differently by the courts depending on if they are married or unmarried to the mothers of their children. If married, paternity rights are assumed, and the man will automatically be considered the father. If unmarried, extra steps need to be taken in order to establish paternity rights. This is advisable because unmarried fathers could have a more difficult time establishing their paternity if the relationship with the mother ends – especially if the mother tries to contest those rights or successfully claims that the boyfriend never participated in the child's life as a father.
Unmarried, soon-to-be parents can establish paternity simply by getting married before the birth of the child. In this case, the husband will automatically be assumed to be the father. On the other hand, if the birth happens after marriage, then couples can complete a special form when they get married to ensure that both spouses receive equal rights as parents.
Voluntarily establishing paternity does not have to happen through marriage. It's also possible to file a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form with the court. This form can be completed at any time after the birth of the child, and even at the hospital when the birth occurs. When the form is successfully processed, the state will place the name of the father on the child's birth certificate.
In the state of Tennessee, there are numerous fathers who have been denied their paternity rights simply because it requires legal procedures for them to assert those rights. At the Law Office of Steven C. Girsky, we are committed to helping fathers establish their custodial rights and visitation rights so that they can play a meaningful and loving role in the lives of their children.