Although child custody laws are similar among the United States, there are slight variations among the laws. If you have recently filed for divorce, it’s important to understand the child custody laws in the state where you reside.

In all child custody cases, the primary goal is to keep the children involved safe and happy. In Tennessee, the court that presides over your child custody case is required by law to provide a written statement explaining why their custody ruling is in the child’s best interest.

How child custody decisions are made in Tennessee:

Unless a previous agreement has been reached by the parents, Tennessee’s family courts have the authority to award the “care, custody, and control” of the children to either or both of the parents. The only thing the courts consider in cases like these are the best interests of the child. If a court determines that a parent has willfully abandoned his or her child for at least 18 months, that that parent’s involvement with the child will be limited.

Child custody factors in Tennessee:

There are several factors that the courts use to rule on custody decisions. Provided that the child is mature enough, the court will consider his or her wishes and preferences. The court will also consider the child’s ability to adjust to their school, community and home if a change in their living situation were to occur. The parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs and their willingness to enourage and foster a relationship with the child’s other parent will also be taken into consideration. A history or domestic violence, child abuse, negligence or substance abuse will affect the court’s decision. The court will determine if the parties involved are willing to comply with a new custody arrangement or visitation schedule before making a final decision.

Child custody cases can be highly emotional affairs, but they don’t have to tear your family apart. Hiring a professional family law attorney can help your family navigate this difficult situation and find a solution that puts the child’s best interests first. Contact us today to learn more or to get started.