Protecting Parents Legal Rights in Custody Dispute Cases
When two parents divorce or agree to separate, it is always challenging for all parties involved. However, the issue of who will maintain child custody is frequently the most contentious issue that the couple may have to decide.
In some instances, former spouses will try to use their child as leverage to obtain their goals instead of looking out for what is in the child’s best interest. Nevertheless, Tennessee courts will always focus on what they feel is best for the child, not the parents.
For these reasons, you must have an experienced child custody lawyer who will act as your legal advocate to ensure you understand your rights and can help your child continue to thrive.
Contact Garner Law Firm, PLLC of Sumner County, to schedule a consultation if you need assistance with a current or new child custody agreement. A qualified family law attorney can gladly answer your questions and address your concerns.
What Types of Child Custody Agreements Are Available in Tennessee?
There are three types of child custody and visitation agreements available in Tennessee. They include:
- Full custody: When a parent retains full custody of their child, it is typically due to concerns about the non-custodial parent, such as their ability to care for the child properly. The child will live with the custodial parent full-time time, which also grants them physical custody, while the other parent may be granted short-term or supervised visitation. The custodial parent will be legally entitled to make all critical life decisions for the child independently. Examples of important life decisions include deciding issues regarding a child’s education or religious upbringing.
- Joint custody: Joint custody, sometimes called shared custody, is the most common custody arrangement in Tennessee as courts feel there are significant benefits for a child having quality time with both parents. However, even with joint custody arrangements, a child will still spend most of their time with the primary custodial parent and live in pre-approved intervals with the other parent. Parents who share joint custody make important life decisions together.
- Visitation: If one parent is awarded full custody, the other parent may still be entitled to visitation with their child. A court may order that a parent may only have contact with their child through visitation because of a prior history of domestic violence, drug or child abuse, or concerns about their ability to parent effectively.
If you still need more information about the types of custody arrangements available in Tennessee, contact our law office and ask to schedule a meeting with one of our experienced child custody attorneys.
What Factors Does the Court Consider When Determining Child Custody Issues?
A family court will take into consideration a wide variety of factors when deciding a child custody case. Parents must remember that the court decides what is best for the child.
Some of the factors the court takes into consideration include:
- The child’s relationship with each parent.
- The child’s preference as to which parent they would like to live with if they are at least 12 years old.
- The parent who has acted as the child’s primary caregiver.
- Each parent’s physical and mental health.
- Each parent’s willingness to interact and be involved in the child’s life.
- Each parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs.
- The child’s relationship with relatives such as siblings or grandparents.
- Any prior history of physical or emotional abuse on the part of either parent.
- The willingness of a parent to encourage their child to have a relationship with the other parent.
One of the best things you can do to prepare for a child custody proceeding is to hire an experienced lawyer from Garner Law Firm, PLLC, who can act as your legal advocate and protect your rights.
What is a Parenting Plan?
Aside from determining custody arrangements, a parenting plan also outlines each parent’s responsibilities in raising their children. Tennessee family courts encourage parents to create sustainable parenting plans so they may work together for their child’s best interests.
One of the main benefits of a parenting plan is that it can serve as a guide to each parent’s responsibilities, which include:
- Creating a parenting schedule that details when children should reside with the non-custodial parent. A parenting schedule also identifies which parent will spend time with the child on specific holidays or birthdays.
- A parenting plan can also detail the decisions each parent can make for their child. Additionally, a well-crafted parenting plan will also state that either parent is able to make medical decisions for the child should an emergency occur.
If the parties cannot come to a mutual decision on the terms of the parenting plan, they may file their own plan with the court. In these instances where the parents cannot agree, the court will usually send them to mediation to try and resolve their issues.
Finally, a well-thought-out parenting plan will provide for the child’s needs as they grow, and changes occur.
What Kind of Results Can I Expect From Your Law Firm?
To obtain a child custody order, you must hire an experienced attorney to protect your rights and your child’s best interest. Garner Law Firm, PLLC, of Sumner County, has in-depth experience in successfully resolving child custody issues and obtaining favorable client results.
If you have issues with your ex-husband or ex-wife regarding who should have child custody or creating a visitation schedule that works for both of you, contact our Hendersonville, TN, law offices immediately. Our highly qualified legal team can assist you with filing the necessary paperwork and help you understand what factors the court will consider in your case.
Our child custody lawyers recognize that it can be upsetting to have to deal with your former spouse to decide on child custody issues. For this reason, we can provide you with the legal representation you need to help you resolve your legal issues and begin the next chapter of your life.
Contact Garner Law Firm, PLLC, at 615-502-4336 and ask to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.