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What does signing a paternity form mean for fathers?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2021 | Father's Rights |

If a father wants to accept responsibility for his child, he should sign an AOP or acknowledgement of paternity form, once the child is born. This form guarantees that the father has certain parental rights. However, there are some rights that are not guaranteed by signing the AOP. Here are some important things to know about fathers’ rights in Tennessee.

The purpose of the AOP

If a father is not married, he should sign an AOP form to establish fathers’ rights to the child. Without this signed document, an unmarried father doesn’t have rights to the child and must go to court to establish paternity. If the parents are not able to agree on signing the AOP, the mother and father may have to participate in a court hearing to determine paternity of the child.

Contents of the AOP

An AOP requires the father to fill out some basic information such as the full name of the father, mother and child. The father also needs to include his birth date, address and Social Security number on the form. Both the mother and father have to sign the AOP. In some cases, they’ll need to fill out the document in front of two unbiased parties.

Guaranteed and un-guaranteed rights

By signing the AOP, certain fathers’ rights are established, which means the father of the child will have the guaranteed right to use his last name for the child, pay child support and be consulted in the child’s adoption process if applicable.

There are also rights that are not guaranteed by signing the AOP. In most states, parents are not guaranteed to have custody rights simply by signing the AOP. Fathers often have to seek visitation rights or custody in a separate procedure. However, getting the court to confirm acknowledgement of paternity is often the first step in this process.