If a child is born out of wedlock in the State of Tennessee, who has custody?  Under Tennessee law, only the Mother has custody of a child born out of wedlock and Fathers have no rights to custody and/or visitation until/unless a court grants those rights.  What if I “sign” the birth certificate?  Do I not then become the legal Father?  What if my name is “listed as Father” on the birth certificate? But I signed a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity”?  The answer is simple:  no, no, no and no.  According to the Tennessee Court of Appeals, signing a VAP only provides the Father with child support obligations and notice of litigation regarding the child.

Absent a court order, a child born out of wedlock in Tennessee is in the sole custody of the Mother.  TCA 36-2-302.

We can assist you with these issues.  Please call Greta Locklear 423-436-1529.  Thank you.


When you are involved in a case with the Department of Children’s Services in Tennessee, treat their attorney as you would the prosecutor in a criminal case – say nothing to them unless approved by your own attorney.  As for your own attorney, if you do not want to agree to something in court, it is your right not to agree.  Never forget that the DCS attorney is prosecuting you for dependency and neglect.  He/she is not your friend nor are they on your side.  Also be wary of the Guardian ad Litem in your case.  He/she is to represent the best interests of the children but far more often than not, they are “in bed” with DCS and prosecuting you as well.  Remember that that GAL is an attorney and do not speak to him/her without your own attorney present.

If you are involved in a CPS investigation, retain an attorney as soon as possible.  You have rights that DCS is not allowed to trample on unless you allow them to.

Greta Locklear, Esq.  Always a free initial telephone consultation.

This entry was posted on August 17, 2015. 1 Comment

Homeschooling in Tennessee

Parents have a right to home school their children in the State of Tennessee.  Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-6-3050 provides that a “home school is a school conducted or directed by a parent or parents or a legal guardian or guardians for their own children.”  Parents may choose from three options:  independent home school, church-related umbrella school, or accredited online school.  Under TCA 49-6-3050, families who wish to homeschool their children are required by the state of Tennessee to register each child either with the Local Educational Authority or with a church-related school as an “umbrella.” In both instances the Department of Education maintains control over the education of the child by way of testing requirements and other controls.

It has come to my attention that the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services doesn’t favor homeschooling.  Through Child Protective Services, they will send a worker to the home of a homeschooled child to investigate reports of children not attending school by “well-meaning neighbors”.  The minute you receive a call from CPS, call an attorney!  Do not allow them to “inspect” your home without your attorney present.  Many times CPS uses this inspection to drum up charges of dependency or neglect so that they may take your child into the custody of the state.  Yes every child has to attend school but they do not have to attend public or private school.  It doesn’t matter if  CPS likes your homeschool curriculum or not – if it complies with Tennessee law they have no right to tell you that you must enroll your child in a public or private school.


This entry was posted on August 24, 2014. 1 Comment