Nashville Paternity Lawyer
Our Dedicated Parentage Attorney Handles Cases in Cheatham, Davidson County, Montgomery County, Sumner County, Robertson County, Williamson County, Wilson County, Rutherford County, and Throughout Middle Tennessee
Establishing paternity (parentage) essentially means determining the legal father of a child, and it can be a complex process. When the biological parents of a child are not married, the biological mother is the legal “custodian” of the child until there is an order of parentage. Sometimes a biological father signs a VAIP (voluntary acknowledgment of paternity) at the hospital, which is generally an irrevocable determination of his parentage. However, unwed mothers have the advantage of having custody of the child until there is a parentage action filed. Conversely, unwed fathers are at a disadvantage should the relationship with the child’s mother deteriorate. Once a parentage action has been filed, and the court determines parentage either through DNA testing or with a signed VAIP, the court can establish a temporary parenting arrangement, and the determination is “gender neutral”.
Other issues involved in a parentage action would obviously include orders for support and the ability to include the child as a deduction for tax purposes. If the child was given the mother’s last name at birth, a father can request that the name be changed to his name but must carry the burden of proof and establish that it is in the child’s best interest. There are numerous factors which the court must consider when determining primary residential parenting, and your Nashville attorney will be able to assess all strengths and weaknesses of your case.
Table of Contents
- Our Nashville Paternity Lawyer Can Handle the Entire Parentage Process for You from Start to Finish
- Enjoy the Benefits of Establishing Paternity with the Assistance of Our Experienced Nashville Paternity Lawyer
- Our Parentage Attorney Will Help You Take That Very Important First Step
- Frequently Asked Questions About Parentage Attorney Services in Nashville
Our Nashville Paternity Lawyer Can Handle the Entire Parentage Process for You from Start to Finish
The parentage process begins with the filing of a petition to establish parentage. Certain counties in Tennessee require that the petition be filed in the juvenile or general sessions court. Other counties provide more flexibility for the venue of filing, making it important for you to choose an experienced family lawyer to advise you based on your unique set of facts. This petition must be filed at a court located in the same county where either the mother, father, or child resides. The parties that can file this petition include the mother, the assumed father, the child (via a guardian), or the Tennessee Department of Human Services (applicable if the child has been placed in the custody of the State). The mother or alleged father can file a petition for any of various reasons, usually because there’s difficulty in their relationship. It is also very important to legally establish parentage for purposes of inheritance by the child from the father. Such actions must be filed within one year of the death of the father or they will be time-barred.
The court will order DNA testing at the request of either party unless both parents agree to parentage in court. A mother should only agree to parentage without a DNA test if it would be impossible for another person to be the father.
Enjoy the Benefits of Establishing Paternity with the Assistance of Our Experienced Nashville Paternity Lawyer
There are many benefits to establishing paternity beyond simply having the father’s name on his child’s birth certificate. Many benefits accrue to the mother, father, and child, such as:
- Enabling the fostering of a relationship with both biological parents;
- Allowing the child to learn about their family history, including their medical histories;
- Providing the family with access to financial benefits such as insurance, inheritance, Social Security, and Veterans/military benefits;
- Fairly and equitably share the responsibilities of parenthood between both parents;
- Share the costs of raising the child, since a father whose paternity has been established can be ordered to pay child support.
Our Parentage Attorney Will Help You Take That Very Important First Step
If you are a mother and want to establish who your child’s father is or if you think you may be the biological father of a child, we encourage you to speak with an attorney. The Nashville paternity lawyer with Brighter Day℠ Law can help you strategize a path forward to establish legal paternity, ensure that all related issues involving the rights of parents are addressed, and help you fight, if necessary, to protect the child’s best interests. In some cases where physical violence or addiction is involved, a properly prepared case can result in immediate protection from the court for the parent and child. Your experienced family law attorney at Brighter Day℠ Law has navigated these waters many times and will work to provide safety and stability for you and your child in these circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions About Parentage Attorney Services in Nashville
In some Tennessee counties, there are options of filing in either the juvenile or circuit/chancery court. This allows the attorney to file in a court where the particular judge may be more or less favorable to a given set of facts. The parentage action may be filed in the county where the mother resides, where the father resides, or where the child resides if with a third party. If someone has filed an adoption petition concerning the child, that court has exclusive authority to deal with parentage of the child.
Depending on the case load in the particular court where the action is filed, a contested parentage action can take as much as a year. It also largely depends upon how many issues are disputed between the parents. Either parent is well-advised to prepare in advance for a contested parentage action, and should contact the family lawyers at Brighter Day℠ Law to develop a strategy, gather available evidence, determine the best timing to file the relevant paperwork, and prepare for hearings. Sometimes, cases are won or lost before the petition is ever filed.
As referenced above, each parent’s behavior will be potentially examined by the court. Clients should consider their social media postings and all written communication with the other party or their family, and anticipate that those communications could be used against them in court. In some cases, it might be advisable to hire a private detective to surveil a party or at least do an online search for criminal records or debt information. Normally, a school-aged child will attend the school of zone where the primary parent resides.