In Tennessee, when a child is born out of wedlock, initially the mother is the custodial parent by operation of law. The biological father has to establish himself as the legal father before he can get court ordered visitation/co-parenting rights. Unless he has signed an Acknowledgement of Paternity form at the hospital, he will need to file Petition for Paternity in the Juvenile Court in the County where child resides and request visitation/co-parenting time.
The court is likely to order mediation to see if an agreement can be reached. If no agreement is reached then there will be a hearing in front of the judge and the judge will determine the parenting schedule for the child. The judge is required to do what he believes is in the best interests of the child.
Fathers of children born out of wedlock can get court ordered visitation rights but they have to pursue them. If there is no legal action taken, then it is left to the mother’s sole discretion to decide what visitation she allows and when she allows it.