Child Custody Attorney in Nashville, TN
Child Custody Factors
Tennessee custody laws take into account a number of things when making decisions about how families will proceed with childcare and child placement. Here are some key concepts to learn more about or keep in mind:
- “Physical” custody vs. “Legal” custody: In Tennessee, physical custody includes the child’s daily living arrangements, while legal custody refers to decisions about the child’s education, medical care, and general welfare.
- In Tennessee, a child over the age of 12 can decide which parent with whom they’d like to live.
- In Tennessee, all divorcing parents must write and submit a parenting plan.
- Child custody decisions cannot be included in a divorce decree in Tennessee.
- In Tennessee, While you and your spouse have the opportunity to decide together on a custody agreement, if you can’t agree on a fair situation the court will decide for you.
- In Tennessee, visitation is known as parenting time.
Child Custody for Married Fathers
If you are thinking about divorce, our child custody lawyer will explain what you will need to know. First is that a custody and visitation schedule will be set up for you and your children as part of the divorce process. This schedule can be decided by the court or agreed on by the divorcing parents. Second, you and your spouse have equal rights to full participation in your child’s life. Tennessee family law does not allow a presumption for custody based on gender. Third, when your divorce is complete one parent will be named the Primary Residential Parent of the child based on the child’s best interests. The court will look to factors such as each parent’s ability to care for the child, of each parent to foster a healthy relationship with the other parent and the child.
The decisions that are made during divorce can have a massive impact on your relationship with your children. Don’t go through the divorce process alone and don’t simply take any visitation schedule you are offered because you believe courts will automatically favor the mother of a child. Our child custody attorneys will help you assert and defend your right to a full and equal relationship with your child.
Child Custody for Unmarried Fathers
Approximately 41% of children are born to unmarried parents. Being an unmarried father presents a specific and difficult challenge to many men. Under Tennessee law, when a child is born to unmarried parents’ custody is automatically with the child’s mother unless and until a court orders otherwise. This means that if you were not married to your child’s mother when your child was born, you will have to request assistance from the court to assert your parental rights.
The first step is to establish that you are the child’s biological father. This can happen in several ways. Often, this is established when a father is included on a child’s birth certificate. If this wasn’t done, you can request an order for a DNA test from the court. Once you have been legally established as a child’s father, you can and should request visitation time with your child. If you wish to be the child’s primary caregiver, you and your attorney can discuss strategies and options to determine if this would be in your child’s best interest.
Many unmarried fathers have been led to believe they are not entitled to a relationship with their child or children. Some feel like they are the mercy of their child’s other parent and that they shouldn’t fight for their children because no one will listen or care about their desire to be a parent. Our child custody attorneys have had deeply personal experiences helping friends, family members, and clients assert and defend their parental rights. Our office is passionate about advocating for fathers and will guide you through every step of securing your relationship with your child.
Too often Fathers report feeling like they have been shut out of their children’s lives. Many fathers seek legal help because they have not seen their child in months or have not been allowed to contact them. They don’t know what their responsibilities are or how they should proceed with requesting visitation. In many cases, with the help of a child custody lawyer, this problem could be solved by asking the court to set a specific schedule for both parties to follow.
In some cases, a father’s former partner or spouse has gone out of their way to eliminate a father’s connection to a child even when a schedule has been established by the court. People take these actions because of hurt, anger, or resentment toward their child’s other parent. Occasionally, the parties just don’t have a clear understanding of what exactly each parent’s rights are when it comes to their children. Whatever the situation, you are entitled to an active role in your child’s life. Children deserve to have a relationship with both parents and courts will often prioritize this goal in cases where one parent has refused another parent access to children.