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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    5

    Default Unwed Mother's Rights in Tennessee

    I am 19 years old and have a seven week old. Her father and I broke up before I found out I was pregnant. He wanted an abortion. After her birth he asks for a DNA test. I agreed. Now he wants her last name changed to his from mine. In Tennessee, can the courts make that happen. It doesn't seem so after reading Tn. Code 68-3-305

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    5

    Default Re: Unwed mother's rights in Tennessee

    I don't want this to happen and we should be in court in a few days.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Horse Capital of the World, FL
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    Default Re: Unwed mother's rights in Tennessee

    I assume that the DNA test showed him to be the bio dad? As far as I know (and I may be wrong), the only thing the court can "force" you to do is have his name added (as the father) onto the birth certificate. He would have to prove that changing the babies last name is in the baby's best interest.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    5

    Default Re: Unwed mother's rights in Tennessee

    Yes and he wants to be a part. I don't have a problem with any of this except the last name.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    75,004

    Default Re: Unwed mother's rights in Tennessee

    You're asking if, after paternity is established, he can bring a court action asking the court to change the child's surname to his? Yes, but in a typical situation it would be very difficult for him to win.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    5

    Default Re: Unwed mother's rights in Tennessee

    how can I be assured of this. have you read 68-3-305? It sound pretty cut and dry to me and my mom. My lawyer has her doubts about us winning that part of the case.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Horse Capital of the World, FL
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    Default Re: Unwed mother's rights in Tennessee

    quoting the code:
    (a) (1) If the mother was married at the time of either conception or birth, or anytime between conception and birth, to the natural father of the child, the name of the natural father shall be entered on the certificate and the surname of the child shall be entered on the certificate as one of the followingA) The surname of the natural father; or
    (B) The surname of the natural father in combination with either the mother's surname or the mother's maiden surname.
    (2) If the surname of the child includes the mother's surname, mother's maiden surname, or any combination of those two (2) surnames but does not include the surname of the natural father, it may be so entered, but only upon the concurrent submission of a sworn application to that effect signed by both parents who mutually agree to that surname or combination of surnames.
    (3) If a surname is not chosen by the parents within the ten (10) days required for filing of the birth certificate, the father's surname shall be entered on the birth certificate as the surname of the child. Within this ten (10) day period, the father may file and submit a sworn statement to the hospital that states that the parents do not agree on a surname, in which case the father's surname shall be entered on the birth certificate as the surname of the child.
    (4) If, within the first year after the child's date of birth, both the mother and the father sign and submit a sworn statement to the office of vital records that both parents wish to change the child's surname, then the office of vital records shall amend the child's birth certificate in accordance with the parents' request to change the child's surname, if the chosen surname is either:
    (A) The surname of the natural father;
    (B) The surname of the mother;
    (C) The mother's maiden surname; or
    (D) Any combination of the surnames listed in subdivisions (a)(4)(A)-(C).

    (5) If, within the first year after the child's date of birth, the parents cannot mutually agree on a surname, either one can submit a signed, sworn statement that acknowledges the disagreement, states the father was not available within the time allowed by law for filing of the birth certificate to participate in the choice of his child's surname, and requesting that the name be changed to the father's surname, in which case the father's surname shall be entered on the amended birth certificate as the surname of the child.
    This doesn't appear to apply to you since you were not married to the father.
    If you read the next provision:
    Quoting (b) (1) If the mother was not married at the time of either conception or birth or between conception and birth, the name of the father shall not be entered on the certificate of birth and all information pertaining to the father shall be omitted, and the surname of the child shall be that of either:
    (A) The surname of the mother;
    (B) The mother's maiden surname; or
    (C) Any combination of the surnames listed in subdivisions (b)(1)(A) and (b)(1)(B). This is what seems to apply to you. But it is unclear if this still applies once paternity has been established.
    It seems like a matter of interpretation. It may all come down to how the judge interprets the provisions in the statute and what he takes into consideration (father not involved prior to legal preceedings, etc). No one can assure you of anything (not even your lawyer). Good luck.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    661

    Default Re: Unwed mother's rights in Tennessee

    What part of TN are you in?


    I have seen it ordered that the child's name be changed when the child is that young since they have not yet identified with the name in Nashville, that is.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Unwed mother's rights in Tennessee

    Lincoln County. And it is registered in Nashville already. I figured I needed to act fast!! Are you part of the legal system in any way Neal1421? I need to know how to make the Judge understand that my child has every right to carry the last name of her primary caregiver, the person who gave her life. Can you inform me of someone higher up that may be able to help?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    354

    Default Re: Unwed Mother's Rights in Tennessee

    Your child is very young and you have a long time of co-parenting this child with her father ahead of you. You need to reprogram your mindset. It is true that you are presently the only legal parent of this child until a court determines legal paternity. But once paternity is established through the courts, as is currently in progress, being the parent who gave birth to the child DOES NOT automatically give you more rights over the child than the father. The court will determine which parent gets what rights.....if one is even granted more rights than the other.

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