Establishing Child Custody In Tennessee

Are you involved in a child custody dispute? If so, the dedicated lawyers at the Thomas Family Law Firm, PLC, are here to help.

Unlike many other firms, we practice family law, and family law alone. Given this focus, you can count on us to always be up to date on the most recent family law issues and legislation, including those related to child custody and support.

To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced, skilled attorneys, call us at 901-537-0010 or email us online. While our office is located in Germantown, we are licensed in both Tennessee and Mississippi. Contact us today to learn how we can help you and your family deal with difficult legal issues.

Factors Used When Determining Child Custody

Tennessee law expressly recognizes that most children do best when both parents are involved in their lives, and as such, relationships between a child and both of his or her parents should be fostered following divorce ― unless, of course, such actions are not in the best interests of the child, which is the primary concern during any child custody dispute.

While parents are free to work together and try to decide which custody arrangement is in their child's best interests ― often through mediation ― if they are unable to do so, the court may have to make the decision for them. When establishing child custody, a court will review several factors, including:

  • The past and current relationship between the child and each parent, including the existing love and emotional ties as well as whether one parent has primarily performed most parenting responsibilities in the past
  • The ability of each parent to provide the child with the necessities, including clothing, food and medical care
  • The ability of each parent to raise the child, including his or her moral, mental and physical fitness
  • The past and potential future performance of parenting obligations, including whether each parent will promote and encourage a meaningful relationship between the child and other parent
  • The needs of the child, including emotional needs
  • The home, school and community life of the child, as well as the importance of continuing a stable environment
  • The child's relationship with other siblings and other family members
  • The child's preference, but only if he or she is 12-years-old or older
  • Any evidence of emotional or physical abuse

After reviewing these and any other relevant factors, a court will outline a custody arrangement, including the parents' decision-making authority and residential/custody schedule, in a written plan otherwise referred to as a permanent parenting plan .

While the law and factors discussed above are specific to Tennessee law, custody determinations in Mississippi involve many similar legal principles. To learn more about child custody disputes under either Tennessee or Mississippi law, contact the Thomas Family Law Firm, PLC.