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The basics of child custody in Tennessee

Child custody laws are important for many families to understand and be familiar with. Oftentimes the more families understand about what family law resources are available and how they can help them, the better position they are in to develop child custody arrangements that are in the best interests of the child and work best for their family.

Child custody laws are largely consistent from state to state but there are some differences. As it true in all child custody situations, regardless of the state or locale, what is in the best interests of the child is the guiding consideration. A variety of factors are taken into account to determine what is in the best interests of the child. In Tennessee, the child's wishes can also be considered when determining what child custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child and works bests for the family. Joint custody is also a possibility in Tennessee.

In general, child custody can be either joint or sole in which custody can be shared or one parent may have physical custody of the child and the other parent will enjoy visitation. In addition, child custody concerns are divided into physical custody and legal custody which refers to which parent the child will live with and which parent, or both, will make important decisions for the child related to education, medical care and religious upbringing.

Tennessee protects certain rights of a noncustodial parent enjoying visitation provided it is in the best interests of the child. Parents receiving visitation have certain access to their children telephonically and by mail; the right to receive important information in a timely manner as soon as possible; right to records from the child's school and medical records; notice of extracurricular activities; certain rights of access to be involved and participation and to be free from derogatory remarks made about them in the presence of the child; and an itinerary if the other parent leaves the state with the child for greater than 2 days.

Protecting the rights of parents is important but the family law process always seeks to honor what is in the best interests of the child which includes a priority on their safety and well-being. Because child custody concerns can sometimes be contentious, it is helpful for parents in Tennessee to understand how they are determined in their state so they know what to expect.

Source:, "Tennessee Child Custody Laws," Accessed April 12, 2018

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The Law Office of Robert M. Asbury
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