Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody refers to the rights and obligations between parents, regarding their children, after a divorce, legal separation, or paternity decree. There are separate and independent forms of custody in the State of Tennessee.
Physical custody refers to the amount of time each parent is permitted physically with a child. This may be sole, primary, or joint custody. Legal custody refers to a parent’s decision-making rights regarding a child’s health, education, religious determination and extracurricular activities, and for other state and federal legal purposes. It, too, may be sole or joint custody.
Courts in the State of Tennessee are required to designate one parent as the Primary Residential Parent (PRP) and the other as the Alternate Residential Parent (ARP), although this designation does not necessarily have to determine the allocation of physical parenting time each party has with the minor children. Most often times, the Alternate Residential Parent (ARP) is given a specific schedule granting them parenting time with the minor children. In some cases, however, usually if the parties are in agreement, the Court orders joint and equal physical custody of the children where both parents have substantial access to their children.
The Court’s decision in a particular case is based upon a comparative fitness analysis, including each parent’s historical nurturing role, each party’s propensity to further a relationship between the children and the other parent, the determination of the children’s wishes, and the relative circumstances of the parties going into the future.
The child custody objective is the often the most difficult aspect in the divorce process. The options to pursue can include primary custody, equal and joint custody or alternate residential custody. In most cases in the State of Tennessee a child will live primarily with one parent at that parent’s residence, while spending scheduled time residing with the other parent – usually on the weekends and holidays.
Tennessee Courts determine custody and visitation issues based on the best interests of the child. These factors will include the following:
1. The love, affection and emotional ties existing between the parents and child.
2. The likelihood that the parent will provide the child with all necessities.
3. The importance of continuity in the child’s life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable environment.
4. The stability of the family unit of the parents.
5. The mental and physical health of the parents.
6. The home, school and community record of the child.
7. The reasonable preference of the child if twelve (12) years or older.
8. Evidence of physical or emotional abuse to the child, the other parent or other persons by one parent
9. The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent and interacts with the child.
10. Each parent’s past and potential for future performance of parenting responsibilities, including the willingness to encourage a close relationship between the child and the other parent.
Going through a custody battle can be a very difficult experience. You need a dedicated and experienced divorce attorney working with you to protect your rights. Call the Law Office of Brad H. Frakes at (615) 248-7854.