The short answer is yes, you can change a child custody arrangement under Tennessee law ― but only in certain situations.
For instance, a court will only grant a modification to child custody if you can first show a material change in circumstances that impacts the child and that no one could have reasonably anticipated at the time of the initial custody order. Some examples may include when:
- One parent fails to adhere to a parenting plan or custody order established during divorce proceedings
- One parent vindictively attempts to relocate with a child outside of the state
- One parent is abusing the child
- The primary residential parent remarries an individual who may have a negative impact on the child, including someone previously convicted of domestic violence
However, even if you can show a sufficient change in circumstances, the court will still have to compare which custodial arrangement is in the child's best interests ― meaning it will review many of the same factors used when establishing custody in general.
What About Visitation, Can That Be Changed?
Importantly, even if your change in circumstances does not justify a change in custody, you may still be able to ask the court to modify your residential parenting time or visitation schedule.
While a modification to a residential parenting schedule also requires a material change in circumstances, the requirements are significantly different and substantially lower than the requirements for a custody modification. In fact, if you can simply show that the current parenting plan is unworkable or the child wants a change, it may be enough to justify a modification to parenting time.
However, navigating these various laws and understanding the differences between custody modifications and parenting schedule modifications can be complex, which is why it is best to consult with an experienced lawyer.
Trusted, Knowledgeable Legal Guidance
If you have questions about modifying child custody, visitation or any other related issue under either Tennessee or Mississippi law, the knowledgeable attorneys at the Thomas Family Law Firm, PLC, can help. To schedule a consultation, email us online or call our Germantown office at 901-537-0010.