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Fathers' rights and child custody

Even if a child was not born to wedded parents, both the mother and father are entitled to pursue custody or visitation rights. If a father has a child custody or visitation issue in Tennessee, the courts will resolve the matter by considering what is in the best interest of the child. There is a presumption, unless evidence is presented to show otherwise, that a child will gain the most benefits if both parents are involved in his or her life.

Establishing paternity is the first step for an unmarried man to gain father's rights. Both parents can acknowledge the father's paternity by filing the appropriate form with the court. Otherwise, one of the parents can initiate a legal procedure that would require a DNA test to be performed.

The man may pursue his father's rights as soon as paternity is established. In some states, filing to establish paternity and for custody or visitation rights can occur simultaneously.

Parenting agreements can be negotiated before or after a legal procedure regarding paternity has been started. The agreement will detail, among other things, who will have primary custody, who will make decisions about the child's education, religion or health care and the specifics regarding visitation times for the other parent. Instructions for addressing any changes to the parenting agreement may also be included.

Individuals who are having difficulties resolving their child custody issues may consult with a family law attorney. The lawyer might evaluate the factors of a client's case and advise which legal steps should be taken. This may include filing a petition to have a child support order modified.

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Stanley A. Kweller, Attorney at Law
214 Second Avenue North, Suite 103
Nashville, TN 37201

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Phone: 615-208-9691
TF: 866-568-5306
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