The Rights of Unmarried Parents - Tennessee
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 36-2-302; 36-2-304(a)
The terms used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, are defined as follows:
- 'Mother' means the biological birth parent of a child born out of wedlock.
- 'Father' means the biological other parent of a child born out of wedlock.
- 'Parent' means the biological birth parent or other parent of a child, regardless of their marital status.
A person is rebuttably presumed to be the other parent of a child if any of the following apply:
- The person and the child's birth parent are married or have been married to each other, and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated.
- Before the child's birth, the person and the birth parent have attempted to marry each other, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared illegal, void, and voidable.
- After the child's birth, the person and the birth parent have married or attempted to marry each other, although such marriage is or could be declared illegal, void, or voidable and any of the following apply:
- The person has acknowledged parentage of the child in a writing filed with the putative father registry.
- The person has consented in writing to be named the child's other parent on the child's birth certificate.
- The person is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary promise or by court order.
- While the child is a minor, the person receives the child into their home and openly holds the child out as their natural child.
- Genetic tests have been administered, an exclusion has not occurred, and the test results show a statistical probability of parentage of 95 percent or greater.
Use of Parentage Registries
Citation: Ann. Code § 36-2-318
The Department of Children's Services shall establish a putative father registry. The registrar of the Division of Vital Records of the Department of Health shall notify the department's registry of all orders of parentage or acknowledgments of parentage received by the registrar.
Any person listed on the registry shall be notified by the department of any proceedings for the adoption of any child or the termination of parental rights of any child of which the department's adoption unit has actual notice of filing and for whom the registrant has made a claim of parentage, unless the person has previously executed an unrevoked surrender of the child or waiver of interest or has consented to the child's adoption, or the person's parental rights have been terminated by court action.
A person listed on the registry and entitled to notice of pending adoption or termination proceedings shall have 30 days from the receipt of such notice to file a complaint for parentage or to intervene in the adoption proceedings or termination of parental rights proceedings for the purpose of establishing a claim to parentage of the child or to present a defense to the termination or adoption case. The failure of such person to file a petition to intervene shall be sufficient cause for the court when the adoption proceedings or termination proceedings are pending to terminate the parental rights, if any, of such person.
Alternate Means to Establish Parentage
Citation: Ann. Code § 36-2-305
The court may enter an order of parentage upon the agreement of the birth parent and other parent, unless the court on its own motion orders genetic testing. In any such agreement, the parents must affirmatively acknowledge their parentage of the child. Any agreement under this part shall comply with the requirements of § 36-2-311.
Absent an agreement or an acknowledgment of parentage, a complaint to establish parentage may be filed. A complaint to establish parentage of a child may be filed by any of the following:
- The child, if the child has reached the age of majority, or if the child is a minor, the child through a guardian or next friend
- The child's birth parent, or if the birth parent is a minor, the birth parent's personal representative, parent, or guardian
- A person claiming to be the child's other parent, or if the person is a minor, the person's parent, guardian, or personal representative
- The Department of Human Services
Citation: Ann. Code § 36-2-318
The registry shall contain the names of the following persons:
- Those persons and their addresses, if available; the name of the child; and the name of the child's birth parent, if available, for whom the registrar of the Division of Vital Records has a record that an order of parentage has been entered and those persons for whom the registrar has a record of any acknowledgement of parentage
- Those persons who have filed with the registry a certified copy of a court order from this State or any other State or territory of the United States or any other country that adjudicates such person to be the other parent of a child born out of wedlock
- Those persons who have filed with the registry a copy of a sworn acknowledgment of parentage executed pursuant to the law of this State or any other State or territory or any other country
- Those persons who have filed only a written notice of intent to claim parentage of a child with the putative father registry either prior to, or within 30 days after, the birth of such child
Those persons who have filed only a written notice of intent to claim parentage of a child shall include the following with such notice:
- The person's name, current address, and current telephone number if any
- The name of the child, if known, for whom such person claims parentage
- The name of the child's biological birth parent
- The current legal or physical custodian and that person's address and telephone number, if known
- Any other information that may identify the child and the child's whereabouts
Revocation of Claim to Parentage
Citation: Ann. Code § 36-2-318
A person who has filed a notice of intent to claim parentage may revoke the notice at any time in writing to the registry, and upon receipt of such notification by the registry, the notice of intent to claim parentage shall be deemed null and void as of the date it is filed.
Access to Information
This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.