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Questions Answered by Paul E. Tennison
1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Child Support for Tennessee on
Q: Do I have any paternal rights to my daughter if my name is on her birth certificate, if I am court ordered to pay child

I was not married to her mother when she was born and have been told I have no rights to my daughter because of that. We do not get along very well therefore my parents do majority of communication with the mother to keep the peace and so I can see my kid. I want rights established so I can have a... Read more »

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Oct 12, 2021

File a Petition to Establish Paternity in the County you/the Mother live in. As your name is already on the birth certificate, you should be able to get parenting time through a parenting plan without having to do a DNA test. If you have additional questions, I recommend you speak with a family law... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: “ Notice of unavailability of counsel” from spouses attorney just three days before hearing. I requested this hearing.

This divorce was filed in January of this year by her. However we agreed on it July of 2020. After she’s filed the court hearing was continued by her party. Since then nothing has been done and it’s been months. Which is why I requested a hearing. I have done everything she’s asked for and... Read more »

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Oct 11, 2021

You may consult with a local family law attorney and see if there is anything else that can be done. In general an attorney filing a notice of unavailability will result in the hearing being continued until the next available date. This sounds like your divorce has been dragged out. If there are no... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Tennessee on
Q: I have had my 2 grandchildren in my care for 9 years. Both parents walked out on them. Can I get custody? Please help me

My 2 grandchildren have been in my care for 9 years. The parents have been in and out of jail for several years. The father has moved to Illinois and the mother is around but shows interest in only herself. I have always cared for these kids, provided for them, loved them, and been here for them.... Read more »

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Dec 24, 2020

I recommend you consult with an experienced family law attorney near you. You may file a Petition for custody or something similar to get this issue in front of a Judge to decide. With the parents criminal history and your history caring for the children, the best interest of the child analysis in... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law and Gov & Administrative Law for Tennessee on
Q: If I'm unlawfully stopped by police, under my protected constitutional rights am I required to present my id?

I'm? In Tn.

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Dec 16, 2020

I am unaware of which specific Constitutional right you are referring to. Assuming you mean to invoke the 4th Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. I am unaware of any precedent that states citizens are not required to produce identification when requested to do so. 4th... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Tennessee on
Q: Requesting custody of my pup.

My boyfriend and I agree to get a dog 6 months ago. He agreed to pay for the dog if I agreed to buy the essentials for the dog to take it home. We are breaking and he says I can’t have the dog because he purchased it. I have paid for all the vet bills, grooming and other necessities for the dog... Read more »

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Dec 16, 2020

You may sue in small claims court for possession of the dog or for the expenses. If he agreed to get the dog as a gift to you, it should be considered your dog. A lawsuit for the expenses may not be successful as you voluntarily agreed to pay said expenses. If you have additional questions you may... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Cannabis & Marijuana Law and Military Law for Wisconsin on
Q: I am interested in joining the army reserves. Marijuana is may be in my system. I want to go to Military Entrance though

I want to go to Military Entrance with honesty of what's in my system but I don't believe it should fairly disqualify me, as per with a doctor I can prove the upkeep of a drug free workplace by testing more frequently proving it is getting out of my system. I have taken all of the... Read more »

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Dec 16, 2020

No, this is not possible. The military has policies regarding what drugs are tested for as part of the military entrance process. Currently this includes testing for marijuana. if you stop using marijuana early enough before the drug test, you may pass. You should realize that if you are not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Workers' Compensation for Tennessee on
Q: How do I figure the Workmen's Comp Settlement Offer for Tennessee?

I work for a County that does their own Worker's Comp. I hurt my shoulder earlier this year, had surgery, etc. Was called today with a settlement offer based on a 3% impairment rating. Is there a way for me to calculate this for myself to give me peace of mind that I am getting a fair deal?... Read more »

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Dec 8, 2020

I anticipate the min/max charts on the tn.gov website are probably about the best thing you can find available online that is free. You could consult with a local TN Worker's Comp attorney and ask about it. Some attorneys offer free or inexpensive initial consultations. Good luck.

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights for Tennessee on
Q: My daughter lived with me six months rent free. She moved left ten bags of clothes .What can I do to make her get them.

She loaded up my garage up with ten bags of clothing and shoes, I have asked her several times to get them and put in storage. She haven't did it. Her son come to my house and when he sees them he want to get them and sell some of them but she tells me I am responsible for them. I asked her... Read more »

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Dec 8, 2020

One option you could consider is to notify her that she has 30 days to retrieve her belongings that she stored at your residence without your permission. If she fails to retrieve them by that time, you will deem them abandoned and dispose of them as you see fit. You could then sell/donate/throw... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Collections for Tennessee on
Q: i have been paying rent to an apartment, who now has no record of me lving there help?? please!!

My apartment complex got bought out by a new management company and has somehow moved me out of their system. They have now switched over to online rent payment option only and i have no way now of making my payments due to the webiste saying there is no record of me living at the adress. No one in... Read more »

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Dec 8, 2020

Yes, I would go talk to the management company in person. If the facts are as you describe, they should be able to fix the error in their system. You could also write letters/emails to the management company describing the issue and asking them to rectify. If you are still unable to resolve this,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Support for Tennessee on
Q: My fiancé’s child support case was in California. Now he and his ex both live in Tennessee. How can he get modification

The child support case is in California, but we are getting married and he is adopting my daughter. He wants to get his child support modified especially since his ex kidnapped his son to Tennessee 3 years ago and has since turned his son against him and his son doesn’t want to see him.

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Dec 4, 2020

This is possible. Tennessee law has a Uniform Interstate Family Support Act in Title 36, Chapter 5, Tennessee Code Annotated. This law indicates that Tennessee may modify an order for child support issued by another state. You will need to register the support order from California to Tennessee.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Tennessee on
Q: I had resolved prior lease violations can my landlord send me a non lease renewal notice due to resolved violations?

I already had an eviction notice for violations and I had taken care of them and my landlord signed off that they were resolved but now is sending me a non lease renewal notice for these violations that were already taken care of and signed off

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Dec 4, 2020

Most likely your landlord can do this. The eviction notice is about forcing you to leave during a current lease. It seems that your previous actions resolved those issues so the eviction was not completed. Once a lease is complete, there is no legal obligation for the lease to continue unless the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Tennessee on
Q: Is it illegal for a landlord to arrange a walk-thru for 1 tenant’s bedroom, and not notify the other tenants in house?

Is it illegal for a landlord to arrange a walk-thru for 1 tenant’s bedroom, and not notify the other tenants in house?

At the house there are 3 bedrooms for rent, 3 non-related tenants and their own lease agreements. The landlord made arrangements with 1 tenant that was preparing to move... Read more »

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Dec 4, 2020

I do not see a way that this would be illegal under TN law. Your facts say the landlord only inspected the one room that she made arrangements to inspect and did not enter the other two. In general there is no expectation of privacy in the shared areas in a house where multiple renters live. She... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Will she be able to get back child support. Even though she intentionally hid my child and their whereabouts. Not on B.C

Wife left almost 4 yrs ago. Weeks before giving birth to our son. I was away on military orders. She moved to a different state had him and didnt put me of the birth certificate. Nor would she tell me where they were or even his exact birthday. She has just recently popped back up with a new baby... Read more »

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Dec 4, 2020

I recommend you consult with an experienced divorce attorney. My understanding of Tennessee law is child support cannot be ordered while parties are married unless there is a hearing where the Judge orders that in a divorce proceeding. The child support date would start the date the parties... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Juvenile Law for Tennessee on
Q: Son & Gf has lived with me for 3yrs baby was born 19mths ago mother is with her 10hrs wk and wants to take her away

And live an hour away I can’t get the mother to get up with the baby and feed her unless it’s 20 mins before she goes to work at 1 in the afternoon Father is on disability .grandbaby is with me 90% of the time what can I or my son do they were never married . Baby response to me as her mother .

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Oct 20, 2020

You and your son may want to consider consulting with an attorney. The default rule in TN is that a child born out of wedlock belongs to the Mother until the Father or other relative petitions the Court for Paternity/custody. TN courts have a fifteen factor best interest of the child analysis that... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Libel & Slander, Criminal Law, Civil Rights and Communications Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can anything be done to a person who has constantly sent me threatening messages through different apps?

I've been sent threatening messages from the same person through different accounts and they have made fake accounts just to be able to send these messages to me. Does it still count towards harassment even though it's fake accounts and names?

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Oct 20, 2020

Yes, you may want to consider seeking an Order of Protection against this person. You could also consider calling the non-emergency police line and reporting the harassment. Sometimes a cease and desist letter from an attorney is successful in getting someone to stop messaging. If these options... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Small Claims for Tennessee on
Q: Can a neighborhood home association fine you for not having specific font on a mailbox? It hasn't been an issue for 3yrs
Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Oct 14, 2020

Most likely, yes. HOAs are based on contract law and most HOA governing documents give the HOA wide discretion to fine homeowners for "violations" which can include such minor things as font on a mailbox. To know the answer for sure, I would need to review the HOA governing documents to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Car Accidents for Tennessee on
Q: My boyfriend took the blame for a car accident when I was driving.

My boyfriend took the blame for an accident when I was the one driving. Will he get in trouble if he tells the truth since he went to jail over it and got a dui?

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Aug 26, 2020

Seems he is already in significant trouble if he has been jailed and convicted for a DUI. If he now tells the police that you were actually the one driving then you will likely be charged and convicted for a DUI. It isn't clear to me if his DUI conviction will stand or they will instead charge... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Tennessee on
Q: Is it legal for police in Memphis tn to pick up someone in Arkansas for questioning if you agreed to come in

The police called me and asked if would come in to answer questions I agreed they then came from tn to Arkansas to pick me up for said questioning with a film crew I’m wondering how legal it was

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Aug 26, 2020

If you agreed, it is legal. By giving consent, you allowed it to occur. If you had said no, they would have had to proceed with securing a warrant in order to detain you for questioning. Hopefully you didn't admit to any criminal acts when speaking with the police. I recommend you consult with... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Tennessee on
Q: Falsely accused of domestic assult

Your ex whom wont get the help to get sober (alcoholic) you tell your boyfriend your gonna leave him if he doesnt quit drinking. Been together for 10 years He starts arguing with you and threatin to slice your throat, and ends up head butting and shoving you down over your coffee table, and you... Read more »

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Aug 26, 2020

I recommend you immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. The facts as you are describing them seem to show that you acted in self defense. That could be a meritorious defense in your case if you are able to convince a jury that he was the primary aggressor in the incident.... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Divorce for Tennessee on
Q: how long does one have to be married to get there retirement?
Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Aug 26, 2020

Tennessee law does not have a specific statutory length of marriage requirement for things such as retirement benefits. The general legal rule is that retirement assets acquired before the marriage are separate property. Retirement assets earned during the marriage, and the appreciation of... Read more »

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