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Child Custody

Child Custody

Types Of Custody And Parenting Plans

In Tennessee, child custody arrangements are often known as parenting plans, particularly when they concern divorced or separated parents. As a child custody lawyer with more than a decade of experience, William H. Stover works with parents to develop effective and fair parenting plans that maintain the most stability for their children.When you’re dealing with a family legal issue such as divorce, your children’s well-being is of the utmost importance. At the Stover Law Group, we support parents as they determine reasonable parenting plans and custody arrangements.There are two types of custody:

  • Physical custody refers to where a child is living at a given time. A parent with physical custody of his or her child can make decisions about what the child eats, wears and does for leisure activity.
  • Legal custody refers to the authority to make larger, more impactful decisions about the child’s life. A parent with sole legal custody of his or her child has the right to make decisions about the child’s health care, education and religious upbringing, even when the child is not in his or her physical custody.

In Tennessee, it is most likely that parents will share in their child’s legal custody.

Parents going through divorce or separation must still determine their child’s physical custody as part of a bigger parenting plan. But if they cannot agree on an arrangement, custody may be a matter argued upon in court with the help of your custody lawyer. According to custody laws in Tennessee, courts will award custody “in the best interest of the child.” In the end, they’ll usually end up with one of the types of custody arrangements listed below, or some modification thereof:

  • Equally shared physical custody and shared legal custody
  • Primary physical custody goes to one parent, while the other parent has a standard visitation schedule and both share legal custody
    • Standard visitation typically involves caring for the child every other weekend during the school year, with an extended stay of two to three weeks over the summer and custody on half of all holidays
    • When one parent has primary physical custody, the other parent may be responsible for providing child support payments

Termination Of Parenting Privileges And Sole Custody

There are certain circumstances under which one parent is awarded sole custody or neither parent is awarded custody of his or her child. If the courts determine that, due to abuse, neglect or exposure to extreme drug and alcohol use, a child is unsafe in one parent’s home, the other parent may be awarded sole custody temporarily or for the long term. Should the courts determine that neither parent’s home is a safe environment for the child, he or she may be placed with a relative or other guardian. These situations are provided for under the dependent and neglect statute of Tennessee law.


For more information on how the Stover Law Group can help you, call 615-613-0541 or contact us online to schedule a free initial phone consultation. We represent clients in Nashville and throughout Middle Tennessee, including Murfreesboro, Clarksville, Gallatin, Shelbyville and Lebanon.

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