Fathers in Tennessee and throughout the country may be entitled to full custody of their children. However, this depends on the facts of the case, and a judge will need to determine if that is in the best interest of the child. In most cases, both parents share custody assuming that they are both fit to do so. It is also possible that a parent will obtain full legal custody while sharing or being denied physical custody.
It is important to note that a judge is not allowed to base a custody decision solely or primarily on a parent's gender. Therefore, fathers are not necessarily at a disadvantage when trying to obtain rights to their children. Of course, the mother may want to have full custody or to limit a father's rights, and she will be given a chance to present her case.
The parent who is currently the child's caregiver will likely be the one who remains the primary caregiver after a ruling is made. Judges typically take into account the strength of the relationship between a parent and child. A man may be asked to take a paternity test during a child custody proceeding if there is any doubt that he is the biological parent. Regardless of who gets custody, the noncustodial parent typically gets visitation rights to a son or daughter.
It can be easy for parents to let their emotions get the best of them during a child custody proceeding. An attorney may help a a parent keep his or her emotions in check and remain objective throughout the process. Those who can remain calm and civil may be seen as more fit to be a custodial parent. They may also be deemed worthy of having generous visitation rights to their children.