Parents in Tennessee may decide that they want to amend their current child custody arrangement. This may occur because of a breakdown in communication with the child's other parent or because there is reason to believe that the child's best interests are not being served. It is important to note that a court generally won't honor a request to change an agreement unless it is in the child's best interest to do so.
If a child is not in immediate danger, a court may choose to investigate an allegation of physical or emotional abuse before taking action. However, the court may still decide to make temporary changes to a custody agreement during such an investigation. A judge may want to know if a child is nervous to spend time with a parent or has witnessed someone else being abused.
Custody hearings may also be held if a parent chooses to move or if the custodial parent passes away. If the noncustodial parent is deemed fit to care for a son or daughter, that person may be given an opportunity to do so. In some cases, the child may be asked to provide input as to who he or she wants to live with. Regardless of why a custody dispute has arisen, parents are encouraged to seek a resolution through mediation or arbitration before coming to court.
Mothers and fathers alike are generally entitled to parenting time with their children. Even if a parent isn't granted custody, that individual may be allowed visitation and other rights such as talking with a child on the phone. An attorney might be able to help structure a parenting plan in a way that meets the needs of the child as well as the needs of the parents.