Child Custody

Children suffer during a divorce or separation.

It is important for parents to consider the effects on a child after a divorce. When children are involved in a divorce, the Tennessee courts will do everything possible to help lessen the emotional trauma the children may be experiencing. If the parents cannot come to an agreement regarding the issues involving the children, the court will establish the custody order at its discretion. It is often best for parents to come to an agreement on what is best for their child rather than allowing the judge to make a determination based upon a hearing that could last just a few hours.

Each parent has the right to have custody of a child. If the parents cannot agree on the custody of a child, the court will award custody with the child's best interest in mind. In making a determination, a Court will often consider the following factors:

  • The love, affection, and emotional ties between the parents and child;
  • The importance of continuity and the length of time the child has lived in a stable and satisfactory environment;
  • Whether there has been any domestic violence or physical or mental abuse to the child, spouse, or any other person and whether a parent has had to relocate to avoid such violence;
  • The stability of the family unit;
  • The mental and physical health of the parents;
  • The home, school, and community record of the child;
  • The reasonable preference of a child over 12 years of age;
  • The character and behavior of any person who lives in or visits the parent's home and such person's interactions with the child;
  • Each parent's past and potential performance of parenting duties, including a willingness and ability to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship with the other parent.

After an agreement has been reached by the parties or after the judge has made a determination on the best interests of a child, to change the agreement, the Petitioning party must prove that a material change of circumstances has occurred that was not anticipated at the time of separation. This is a heavy burden that must be considered when making an agreement based on custody. Always keep in mind that continuity and stability are the most important aspects of any parenting plan.

If you are dealing with custody and/or visitation issues, let the experienced attorneys of Premier Law Group assist you. Call today for your free consultation.

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