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Juvenile Court

Dedicated Nashville Attorney Manages Juvenile Court Cases

Capable lawyer draws on family law and criminal defense experience

When you hear the term “juvenile court,” you probably think of delinquency adjudications. However, in Tennessee, the juvenile court system handles a wide range of issues affecting young people, including dependency hearings and inquiries into abuse. Juvenile courts in Tennessee also tend to be parochial with their rules and procedures, so familiarity with the court of a particular county is very important. At WalshLaw, I have extensive experience with adjudications in juvenile court. Since 2003, I have provided concerned and capable representation for kids and their parents. When you retain my services, you get the benefit of my knowledge and skill as a family law attorney and as a former criminal defense lawyer. You also get a dedicated advocate who has children of his own and is determined to fight for a positive outcome for yours.

Juvenile court jurisdiction in Tennessee

The juvenile court system is designed to provide remedies to a wide range of issues that affect minors. Juvenile courts in Tennessee have jurisdiction over the following matters:

  • Adjudication of children as dependent, neglected, or abused
  • Adjudication of status/unruly offenses and delinquency
  • Determination of custody
  • Termination of parental rights
  • Ordering of treatment, evaluation and/or commitment of developmentally disabled or mentally ill children
  • Commitment of children to the custody of the Department of Children’s Services
  • Paternity actions
  • Ordering and enforcement of child support for children of unwed parents
  • Establishing visitation for noncustodial parents
  • Enforcement of school attendance requirements
  • Removal of the age restrictions on a minor’s marriage license application
  • Deciding whether to grant judicial consent to a minor’s employment or enlistment in the armed services when the law requires such consent
  • Deciding whether to grant judicial consent to medical treatment for a child when parents or guardians are unable to do so
  • Judicial authorization of an abortion without parental consent
  • Adjudication of traffic violations by drivers under the age of 18
  • Transfer of serious delinquency cases to criminal court for trial as adults

Over more than 15 years of practice, I have substantial experience in these matters. However, it’s important to note that juvenile court has limited jurisdiction, so other courts also hear cases that deal with juveniles. For example, petitions to emancipate minors are filed in the chancery court and actions for the appointment of a guardian are heard in the probate court.

Paternity actions in Tennessee

When a couple is married, the husband is presumed to be the father of any children born during the marriage. But when the parents are not married at the time of the child’s birth, there is no legal presumption. Until the father’s paternity is established, the father has no right of custody or visitation, and the mother has no right to a child support order. The child is denied more than financial support: his or her sense of identity and self-worth are diminished, and the emotional support a father can give is absent. To correct these problems, the Tennessee Department of Human Services allows consenting parents to voluntarily establish paternity through various means.

However, when a man does not consent to acknowledge paternity or a mother refuses to acknowledge a man as her child’s father, the issue often proceeds to court. Parties who can file a paternity action include:

  • A mother prior to a request of child support
  • A mother seeking to terminate the man’s parental rights prior to placing the child for adoption
  • A father prior to a request for custody or visitation
  • A child seeking financial support, family history information, benefits, and the right to inherit

In a paternity action, a court can order a DNA test to determine whether the man in question is actually the biological father of the child. If the DNA test confirms paternity, the court can enforce the father’s rights and responsibilities in relation to the child.

In my practice, I represent all potential parties to paternity actions and in subsequent family law actions for child support and visitation.

Contact my Nashville, TN office for a juvenile court consultation

If you have a case pending in a Tennessee juvenile court, you need reliable advice and determined representation throughout the process. To schedule a consultation, call WalshLaw at 615-240-7457 or contact my Nashville office online. My office is located at 4535 Harding Pike, just west of White Bridge Pike and Woodmont Boulevard.

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Office Location
  • Nashville Office
    4535 Harding Pike
    Suite 208A
    Nashville, Tennessee 37205
    Phone: 615-915-0760
    Fax: 877-297-7310