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Putative Fathers

Are you trying to establish your paternity of a child in Tennessee, or receive advance notification if your biological child is ever to be adopted by someone else? Are you an attorney who needs to clear the putative father registry? This page offers answers and links to more information.

What is a Putative Father? 

A putative father, or an alleged father, is a man who does not have an established legal relationship with a child but claims to be the child’s biological father. A putative father also may be the man a woman alleges to be the father of her child.


What is the State Putative Father Registry? 

The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services Putative Father Registry allows supposed biological fathers without legal connection to a child to register information about themselves, the mother and the child so they can be notified about possible future adoption proceedings. Adding themselves to the list serves as a “notice of intent” to claim paternity of a child.

The listing also contains the names of persons identified on orders of parentage, or acknowledgements of parentage, received in the Division of Vital Records, Department of Health. 


Who can Search the Registry?

The Registry is not public, but it serves as a clearinghouse for the courts, legal representatives, public and private agencies and others who can, by law, search the Registry to locate a biological father.

Some reasons why a search would be conducted: An adoption proceeding of the alleged biological child is underway or there is an upcoming termination of parental rights to that child; or for any proceeding regarding child support, medical support or other payments on behalf of that child. 

Our office handles about 5,000 annual searches to the Registry.  Requests must be filed at least 10 days before a scheduled court date.  


Is There a Fee?

Our services are free.


Does the Registry Assist in DNA testing?

The Registry does not forward referrals for, nor arrange for, nor perform DNA testing. To make those arrangements, a putative father must work through his attorney and the courts.


To Register

To claim paternity and add your name to the Putative Father Registry, download and fill out the form entitled Notice of Intent to Claim Paternity or Acknowledgement of Paternity of a Child (CS-0439).

This form requires an original signature of the requestor. Properly filed notices are entered into the Registry within 24 hours, or next business day, of receipt. 

Mail the form to: 

Department of Children’s Services
Putative Father Registry
UBS Tower, 9th Floor
315 Deaderick Street 
Nashville, TN 37243.


To Request a Search

Download and complete the form Request for Name and/or Address of Father with Claim of Paternity (CS-0435) and send it to the Putative Father Registry email address.


 

Learn More

Tennessee law TCA 36-2-318 governs rules on putative fathers and termination of parental rights proceedings.

For information about Putative Father Registries in other states, read the Rights of Unmarried Fathers.