Divorce can be a difficult decision to make. But it’s especially difficult if there’s a child involved. From finding child custody attorneys to going through the process in court, it can quickly become overwhelming. As lawyers experienced in divorce and child custody, we’ll make understanding the process simple for you. Here’s everything you need to know about child custody in Tennessee.
Types of child custody in Tennessee
In Tennessee, the court decides custody based on the best interest of the child. Sole custody is when one parent has legal and physical custody. Legal custody gives a parent authority over the child’s health, education, and welfare. Physical custody gives a parent authority over the child’s day-to-day living arrangement.
There are other options that can involve splitting the custody. For example, in a joint conservatorship, one parent has legal custody of the child, while both parents have shared physical possession of the child. There’s also an option of joint legal and physical conservatorship. That means both parents share physical custody of the child and have equal authority over how the child is raised. Tennessee courts generally prefer parents to be able to share custody in the most equal and practical manner possible. Child custody attorneys are helpful in putting together fair conditions of shared custody.
What the court considers when determining custody
A court considers many factors when it comes to awarding custody. For example, Tennessee courts prefer that children are not constantly moved around from place to place. They also analyze the behavior of all individuals who share a home with the child, including romantic partners. The child can be taken from a custodial parent if the court determines they’re in an unhealthy environment or they’re being exposed to inappropriate influences.
There are other various factors the court considers, including the child’s wishes, the parent’s ability to provide for their needs, and testimony provided by other parties. History can also be a major factor as well, particularly if there’s any history of domestic violence. An abusive parent will not get custody and will also have their visitation restricted; it may be supervised for the safety of the child.
In general, custody hearings are held only if the parents are unable to come to an agreement about custody.
Required parenting class
All divorcing parents with minor children are required to complete a parenting class before a divorce is granted. The purpose of the class is to help parents and children learn how to deal with the divorce and separation. You can be exempt from this class only if the courts grant a waiver. The class can be taken either in a physical classroom or online.
Any parent that plans to make a move over 100 miles away is required to serve a notice to the other parent at least 60 days prior to the move. Notices have to include the new address, statement of intent to move, the reasons for relocation, and a statement informing the child’s other parent that they may oppose the move within 30 days. There are a few factors the courts consider in granting this type of move. Judges will consider the stability of a child’s current home, whether the custodial parent will follow the new custody and visitation schedule, the importance of continuity in the child’s life, and the child’s preference (if they are 12 years or older).
As divorce and child custody attorneys, we know that this can be a lengthy process. It takes 60 to 90 days for a divorce to go through after filing a complaint in Tennessee. But with knowledge of the process, the transition can hopefully go as smoothly and quickly as possible. If you are considering divorce and children are involved, you deserve to have experienced legal counsel by your side. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.