Understanding Child Custody And Visitation In Tennessee

Under Tennessee law, child custody determinations are primarily based upon whichever arrangement is in the child's best interests. In fact, the best interests of the child are always paramount during custody disputes, regardless of whether the parents are unmarried or going through a divorce.

While parents are free to create their own reasonable child custody agreement, the court will likely have to establish a custody arrangement for them if they are unable to do so. When making child custody determinations, Tennessee courts will likely consider several factors, including:

  • The child's parental preference, so long as the child is at least 12 years old
  • The needs of the child, including emotional and developmental needs
  • The strength and stability of the child's relationship with either parent
  • The past, and potential future, performance of parental responsibilities by either parent
  • The willingness of each parent to encourage a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent
  • The emotional ties between the child and each parent
  • The child's current home and school life, and whether a change will disrupt the stability of that life
  • The physical, mental and moral fitness of each parent

However, these are merely a handful of the factors a court may examine when establishing child custody.

What Is A Parenting Plan?

Essentially, a parenting plan is a detailed schedule outlining the time a child will spend with each parent, including holidays, vacations, birthdays and other special events. Not only does it designate where a child will be on certain days, but it also allocates decision-making authority between the parents and names which one is the primary residential parent - also referred to as the custodial parent. In addition, parenting plans are important since parenting time can impact child support calculations.

Legal Guidance You Can Trust

If you need to speak to a lawyer about child custody, visitation or parenting plans, contact the Law Office of Lisa Collins Werner in Knoxville today. With over two decades of legal experience, attorney Lisa Collins Werner can assist you with any custody-related legal issue, including custody modifications and enforcement. To schedule a FREE 15-minute consultation, reach out to us online or call us at 865-973-9286.