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Tennessee Adoption Laws, pg 5

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Putative Fathers

Does State have a Putative Father Registry:

Yes


Legal definition of "father"
Ann. Code §§ 36-2-302; 36-2-304(a)

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
  • ''Father'' means the biological father of a child born out of wedlock.
  • ''Parent'' means the biological mother or biological father of a child, regardless of the marital status of the mother and father.

A man is rebuttably presumed to be the father of a child if:

  • The man and the child's mother 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 man and the mother 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 man and the mother have married or attempted to marry each other, although such marriage is or could be declared illegal, void, or voidable; and:
    • The man has acknowledged his paternity of the child in a writing filed under the putative father registry.
    • The man has consented in writing to be named the child's father on the birth certificate.
    • The man is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary promise or by court order.
  • While the child is a minor, the man receives the child into his home and openly holds the child out as his 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.


Putative father registry
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.

Those persons contained on the registry shall be given notice by the petitioners in proceedings for the adoption of a child or for the termination of parental rights involving a child, and they shall be necessary parties to the proceedings.

Alternate means to establish paternity
Ann. Code § 36-2-305

The court may enter an order of parentage upon the agreement of the mother and father unless the court on its own motion orders genetic testing. In any such agreement, the mother and father 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:

  • 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 mother, or if the mother is a minor, the mother's personal representative, parent, or guardian
  • A man claiming to be the child's father, or if the man is a minor, the man's parent, guardian, or personal representative
  • The Department of Human Services


Required Information
Ann. Code § 36-2-318

The registry shall contain the names of the following persons:
  • Those persons, their addresses, if available, the name of the child, and the name of the biological mother of the child, if available, for whom the registrar of the Division of Vital Records has a record that an order of parentage has been entered
  • 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 a father 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 paternity 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 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 mother
  • 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 paternity
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 a nullity as of the date it is filed.

Access to information

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Credits: Child Welfare Information Gateway (http://www.childwelfare.gov)

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