Fathers in Tennessee may be allowed to see their children even if they are not awarded custody. Visitation schedules may be arranged by a judge or determined by the parents outside of court. When parents create their own schedule, it is called reasonable visitation rights. This generally occurs when the parents are able to work together in an amicable manner. If parents are unable to work together, a judge will create a fixed schedule.
It will determine when visitation will take place and how long a father may spend with a child. In some cases, the judge will also determine where the child and parent will spend their time together. Typically, fathers who are granted visitation rights will see their children over the weekend or during school breaks. The process of obtaining visitation depends on whether the father was married to the child's mother when the child was born.
Married fathers are generally presumed to have visitation and other rights to the child. Unmarried fathers must first establish paternity before obtaining visitation or custody. Rights to a child are only granted if it is in the child's best interest, and the child's mother may present evidence suggesting that this isn't the case. However, when a child's safety is in doubt, a judge may order that supervised visitation take place.
If a father is granted visitation rights, he may also be required to pay child support to the mother. If paternity has not been established, a presumed father has no formal rights or responsibilities to the child. Those who are seeking visitation or child custody may benefit from hiring an attorney. This may make it possible to obtain a favorable outcome in a custody case while also preserving the best interests of the child.