More and more parents are choosing to have children outside of marriage. Indeed, more than half of births to American women under age 30 occur outside of marriage. It’s important for fathers to know that in Tennessee, if he is not married to his child’s mother, he must take affirmative steps to establish himself as the legal father of his child—thereby earning the right to request custody or visitation. The frequency and duration of such visitation is determined by what is in the best interest of the child.
In cases where the parents are not married, the circumstances may also warrant the court to order child support to flow from one parent to the other. Child support in parentage cases is determined using the same criteria that apply to divorcing couples in Tennessee. The objective is for the child to enjoy a similar lifestyle as he or she would have enjoyed had the family remained intact.
The Knoxville area family law attorneys at Sobieski, Messer & Elledge are adept at handling contested as well as agreed paternity, support, and custody matters with discretion and skill.