Tennessee law encourages parents to work out custody arrangements themselves without bringing the issue to court. If they cannot come to an agreement, courts in Tennessee make custody decisions based on what is in the "best interest" of the child.
Under Tennessee law, divorcing parents must have a parenting plan before their divorce will be approved. A parenting plan is a detailed, written agreement that sets out how they will share legal and physical custody of their children. If parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, they must participate in mediation (a dispute resolution process) before the courts get involved.
Tennessee courts balance a series of factors when determining the best interest of a child. These factors include:
The court should encourage stability and each parent’s maximum participation in parenting decisions. However, courts cannot favor one parent over another based on gender or disability. Sometimes, a guardian ad litem will be assigned to advocate for the child in a custody dispute.
Once the parenting plan and divorce order are signed, they are filed with the court clerk. Both parents are then bound by the approved parenting plan and the court must approve any modification of the plan. Typically, changed circumstances or evidence of misconduct is needed to change a parenting plan.
Child custody disputes can be emotionally charged and require a detailed understanding of the law. If you have concerns about custody and parenting time, it is important that you speak with an experienced family law lawyer. A lawyer will help advocate for you and your child and work to secure the best possible parenting arrangement for your family.
Last Modified: 05-19-2017 03:15 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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