Child Custody Laws in Tennessee
Determining your child’s custody arrangement
In Tennessee, a number of factors affect a court’s determination of where and with which parent the child should live primarily. But the overarching rule under the law is to rule “in the best interest of the child.” The court takes into account the following factors:
- The relationship the child has with each of his or her parents
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child
- The child’s ties to his or her current environment and day-to-day life at home, in school and elsewhere in the community
- Each parent’s mental and physical health and the stability of the family unit
- The child’s preference, if he or she is capable of understanding the implications of such a decision (typically age 12 and over)
- Past abuse to the child, or to another parent or family member
- The character of other family members or adults who reside with or interact frequently with the child
- Each parent’s parenting capabilities, including their encouragement to the child to maintain a close and healthy relationship with his or her other parent
Modifying your parenting plan under child custody laws in Tennessee
Once your divorce is final and you have a parenting plan in place, you are legally bound to follow the rules of that arrangement. However, if circumstances change and the existing plan becomes impractical, Tennessee law allows for modifications to parenting plans. Typically, courts will grant modifications if both parents are agreeable, or if the parent seeking the modification can prove that a new plan is necessary due to the child’s changing needs, a parent’s relocation or a parent’s failure to adhere to the current arrangement.
If you are divorcing in Tennessee and have children from the marriage, you’ll need to develop a parenting plan that addresses custody of your children — whom they will live with and when, and who can make decisions about their lives and upbringing. If you and your spouse are able to agree upon a long-term schedule of custody, the court will likely accept that arrangement. If you are unable to agree upon a parenting plan, it will be up to the judge to decide how to split your child’s time between you and your ex-spouse.
The Stover Law Group can help fight for your custody rights and handle other aspects of your family law issues.
A capable and experienced family law attorney prepared to handle your child custody needs
At the Stover Law Group, I can explain to you the child custody laws in Tennessee regarding parenting plans and help you seek an effective arrangement or modification. For more than a decade, I’ve helped families solve legal issues productively and creatively. For more information, call me at 615.613.0541 or contact me online to schedule a free initial phone consultation. I represent clients in Nashville and throughout Middle Tennessee, including Murfreesboro, Clarksville, Gallatin, Shelbyville and Lebanon.