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Proving paternity in family law matters

There are two primary circumstances in which the paternity of an alleged father becomes critical in Tennessee family law. First, a mother might need to prove paternity to force the father of her children to contribute child support. Second, a father might need to prove paternity in order to gain parental, custody or visitation rights relating to his children.

When a father satisfies "proof of paternity," it means that the state of Tennessee has accepted his or her blood relation to a specific child as the child's biological father. In certain cases, a father can prove paternity simply by showing a copy of his child's birth certificate that lists him as the father. However, when the father has not been listed on the birth certificate, the process of proving paternity becomes a little more involved.

Unmarried fathers and mothers who want to show paternity generally need to prove a blood relation to the child. This can be done through a blood test and/or a genetic, DNA test. In some cases, a presumptive father could be required by the court to submit to a genetic or blood test to resolve a question related to paternity. In these situations, the proof of paternity will rest on the results of the DNA testing, which is proved to be nearly perfectly accurate.

In Tennessee, the presumption of paternity may come into effect if the mother was married. Courts will automatically presume that the man married to the mother is the father. In these situations, a marriage license may be the only requirement to prove paternity.

Whether you're a mother or a father, if paternity is in question relating to a child, a Tennessee lawyer can assist you in navigating this vital legal issue.

Source: The Spruce, "What is Proof of Paternity?," Jennifer Wolf, accessed Oct. 19, 2017

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