For most unmarried parents, there is a solid relationship between them when they have a baby, so at that time, there is little worry about rights to the child. However, if you are in that situation and things go bad in the relationship, you could end up with no rights to your child in Tennessee. According to VeryWell Family, an unmarried father has no legal rights under the law to a child regardless of his involvement or relationship with the child.
This can be scary because if you do not establish your paternal rights, that leaves the mother completely in charge of the child and the only legal parent. That means she can make all the decisions and have all the control over the child and what happens to the child.
For this reason, if you are not married, regardless of your relationship at the time the child is born, you need to establish paternity. You can usually do this in the hospital at the time of birth by signing an acknowledgment of paternity. The mother will also have to sign it. This is a voluntary way to state your legal rights as the child’s father.
If the mother will not sign the form or objects to your paternity claims, you will have to go to court. It is best to do this as soon as possible The court can order a DNA test to prove you are the father. It will then give you legal rights to the child. This is not legal advice. It is for education only.