Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
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Your concerns are valid and mothers change their minds all the time about the child support. Irrespective of whose name appears on the birth certificate, DNA tests can peg you as the father at anytime and you can then be liable for back support and future support.
If you want to have any formal rights to visit with the child you will need to first establish paternity with the courts. You will need to file an acknowledgment of paternity form and file a petition to establish visitation and custody. This will also start your obligations for child support.
If you do not want to have any rights with respect to the child, you will need to voluntarily relinquish you parental rights. Under TN law, it is my understanding that the courts are more likely to grant this if there is another person waiting in the wings to adopt the child.
This is because the family courts will only terminate parent's rights if it is in the best interests of the child.
Once parental rights to a child are terminated, you no longer be permitted to have contact with the child and you will no longer have to pay ongoing child support.
Because these things require court action and cannot be accomplished simply by agreement between the parents (if you want long term security in the agreement), I would recommend that you hire a local family law attorney to assist you.
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