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.