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Knoxville, Tennessee Family Law Blog

Key responsibilities of custodial parents

After a divorce in Tennessee, one parent may be given primary physical custody of a child. This means that the child lives with this individual more than half of the time. Although custodial parents may have significant influence over how the child is raised, the noncustodial parent has rights as well. Custodial parents are expected to adhere to a visitation schedule as closely as possible. Visitation schedules may be determined by the parents themselves or by a judge.

Even if a custodial parent has the power to make decisions for the child, the other parent should be consulted on important issues related to the minor. It may be a good idea to create a parenting plan that determines how decisions are made on the child's behalf. Any decisions that are made will need to take the child's best interests into account.

Parental rights to a child after a divorce

After parents in Tennessee or other states get divorced, they may be able to retain custody or visitation rights to their children. The two types of custody are physical and legal custody. Children will typically spend most of their time living with the parent who has physical custody while legal custody gives a parent the ability to make decisions about the child's upbringing. These decisions may include how a child is educated or what religious beliefs a minor is exposed to.

It is possible for a parent to have legal custody without having physical custody. It is also possible for an individual to have sole physical custody while sharing legal custody with the child's other parent. Parents who are not given physical custody are generally still allowed to see their children. Visitation can be either supervised or unsupervised depending on the circumstances in a given case.

Three signs that indicate a healthy co-parent relationship

Co-parents in Tennessee may be interested in learning about some of the signs that indicate an effective and healthy co-parenting relationship. While there is usually a lot of room for improvement when it comes to co-parenting after divorce, it's better to focus on what is working as each parent tries to resolve conflicts.

One sign of a healthy co-parenting relationship is that each individual tries to focus on the things that they can actually control as opposed to what cannot be controlled. For example, one individual can control the example they set for their children when it comes to dealing with disappointments and setbacks. However, they cannot control if their ex-spouse chooses to date someone and when that individual is introduced to the children. Of course, there are some visitation plans that add guidelines.

Adopting multiples: Things to consider

You've always wanted to grow you family, and it is admirable that you've chosen adoption as the route to do so. However, before you decide to bring home multiples, it's a good idea to sit down and have a solid discussion about the challenges that adopting sibling groups or multiple children can pose.

While adopting two children now might be preferable in helping you reach your goals as parents, you need to do your homework before you choose this route. You may want to visit families who have adopted multiples and interact with the children to observe how they get along before you decide to adopt a group. Here are a few more questions to consider.

Resolving child custody issues

When parents in Tennessee divorce, they are generally concerned about being able to maintain a strong relationship with their kids. They may also experience anxiety around the possibility of a protracted dispute with the other parent regarding custody/visitation rights. In many cases, however, parents can resolve these issues without having to take a case to court.

When a divorce is relatively amicable, parents may find it easier to simply work out custody issues between themselves. Addressing things directly, without bringing in another party, can reduce both the costs of divorce as well as the possibility of friction developing between parents. However, there are times when it's prudent to consult with an attorney before beginning such negotiations.

Co-parenting after a high-conflict divorce

When Tennessee parents get divorced, emotions often run high. Still, they typically understand that children do best when they are able to have strong relationships with both parents. Unfortunately, the conflicts that led to a divorce may continue as the ex-spouses strive to co-parent their kids. This conflict can have a serious impact on the children as well as the parents themselves.

Fortunately, there are things that parents can do to reduce this conflict. The first is to take stock of one's attitude toward their ex-spouse and the divorce itself. The needs of the children should be prioritized. Parents who are having difficulty managing their emotions around their former marriage should seek support from a therapist, friends or clergy.

Avoiding child custody conflict after divorce

When couples with children get divorced in Tennessee, both parents are often concerned about child custody and visitation issues. While most parents want the best for their children, the emotions surrounding a divorce can make negotiating these issues very difficult.

Unfortunately, some parents inadvertently exacerbate these tensions because they misunderstand child custody laws as well as the terms of their divorce decrees and parenting plans. Parents might, for example, attempt to interfere with the other parent's visitation schedule for what they believe are good reasons. Conversely, a noncustodial parent may attempt to withhold child support if he or she believes that the other parent is not following a current parenting plan.

How to craft an ideal parenting plan

Soon-to-be divorced parents in Tennessee will need to figure out how to raise their children together after the split. Ideally, they will work out a plan that meets both their need and the needs of their children. When done properly, a plan can help children adjust to a divorce and serve as an example of how adults work together to solve problems. When creating the plan, parents should think about how they would feel if they were in their child's position.

A quality parenting plan will limit the amount of disruption in a child's life. Parents who are planning on splitting custody or parenting time should create a schedule that allows for everyone to get into a routine. This is generally easier to do when the adults live relatively close to each other.

Help your kids adjust to a new home after divorce

Of all the changes that happen in a divorce, one that can be hard for children is having to move into a new home (or two new homes, in some cases). If you are not going to nest (where two parents share the marital home despite divorce) or have one parent retain the marital home, then it's a possibility that your children will have a significant change to adapt to.

Living in a new home doesn't have to be scary, and it can even be a positive change, but you need to approach the idea from a place of understanding. It's normal for children to lash out or say they don't want to move. It's okay for them to grieve and be upset about leaving local friends or being farther away from certain people they like seeing. It's your job to help make that transition easier.

Creating parenting plans that work

After a divorce, Tennessee parents must still work together to raise their children. How they work together could be spelled out in a parenting plan, and the best plans tend to be created when both parents are engaged in the process of making them. The needs of the child will heavily influence how the plan is created. Younger children tend to need more stability and may rely more on one parent for care.

However, it's also important for the noncustodial ex to have regular access to a baby or young child. This helps the child create a strong bond with both parents, which will be necessary for his or her development. As children get older, it may be necessary for parents to be flexible as to when they see them. Teenagers may have jobs, extracurricular activities or other obligations that may not fit neatly into a consistent schedule.

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