November 2017 | No. W2017-00073-COA-R3-JV (Tenn. Ct. App. 2017)

State ex rel. Schrita O. v. Robert T. (Tennessee 2017)

A mother has standing to bring a paternity action in juvenile court even if the child has a legal guardian. In this case, the grandfather of the child had been his legal guardian since birth. On appeal, the father argued that the court did not have subject matter jurisdiction to decide the claims because mother lacked standing to bring the action due to the guardianship. The appellate court disagreed. The appellate court found the evidence supported that the child lived primarily with the mother, even though the grandfather was his guardian. Regardless, the court found that Tennessee statute provides that the Department can bring an action for paternity without joining a parent.

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