Losing custody of a child, as some Tennessee parents know, is a painful experience that might make a parent believe all is hopeless. While it is difficult to accept that a court has taken custody away and granted it to an ex, another relative or the foster care system, there are steps a parent can take to prove to the court that a child belongs with them.

Once a parent loses custody, the first thing they can do is evaluate the situation to understand why the judge made their decision. Some of the reasons might include a court order violation or an accusation of child abuse or neglect. Understanding the reasons for the decision will help the parent prepare to fight to regain custody. In some cases, regaining child custody will depend on contingencies ordered by the court, such as attending parenting classes, receiving treatment for alcohol or drug addiction or seeking counseling. Even before beginning the process of petitioning the court for custody again, the contingencies should be met as arguing about them just wastes time and delays the process.

When contingencies have been met, a parent can request an in-home custody evaluation to show the court that their home is a safe space for their child. Meeting the court’s requirements by attending hearings and meetings with their child’s guardian might also affect the chances to regain custody positively. Finally, maintaining a positive and cooperative attitude during the process, including during visitations, can help a parent’s case.

During this process, the parent might also consult with a lawyer who has experience with family law cases. A lawyer may provide guidance and explain the options available as well as represent their client in court appearances.