Child Custody

Child Custody

When contemplating divorce or legal separation, custody of your minor child is often the primary concern. Child custody is divided between the parents, one being the Primary Residential Parent (PRP) and the Alternate Residential Parent (ARP). The courts in Tennessee take the child’s best interest into consideration when
determining custody. It is important that both parents get the maximum participation possible in the child’s life and development. Under Tennessee law, the courts, when determining child custody shall consider all relevant factors, including the following, where applicable:

    • The location of the parents’ residences,
    • The child’s need for stability,
    • The strength, nature and stability of the child’s relationship with each parent, including whether one parent has performed the majority of the parenting responsibilities relating to the daily needs of the child,
    • Each parent’s or caregiver’s past and potential for future performance of parenting responsibilities, 
    • Refusal to attend a court-ordered parent education seminar may be considered, by the court, to be a lack of good faith effort in the proceedings,
    • The disposition of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, education and other necessary care,
    • The degree to which a parent has been the primary caregiver, meaning the parent who has taken the greater responsibility for performing parental responsibilities,
    • The love, affection and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child,
    • The emotional needs and development level of the child,
    • The moral, physical, mental and emotional fitness of each parent as it relates to their ability to parent the child,
    • The child’s interactions and interrelationships with siblings, other relatives and step-relatives, and mentors, as well as the child’s involvement with the child’s physical surroundings, school, or other significant activities,
    • The importance of continuity in the child’s life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment,
    • Evidence of physical or emotional abuse to the child, to the other parent or to any other person, 
    • The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent and such person’s interactions with the child,
    • The reasonable preference of the child if twelve (12) years of age or older,
    • Each parent’s employment schedule,

When determining child custody, it is important to determine what is best for the child as opposed to what is best for the parents. If either parent is not satisfied with the child custody agreement, they can request a modification. Before the courts will hear a request to modify, there must be new evidence or information that warrants a reconsideration. For military personnel being called to active duty, the court will revisit and adjust the child custody plan. Upon completion of the tour of service, the custody will revert back to the child custody agreement as it was prior to being called to active duty.

Contact the child custody attorneys at the Law Office of Lords and Cate, LLC today to discuss your case.