Evolving Child Custody Laws in Tennessee
Child custody decisions consider the “best interests of the child standard.” This child centered approach has been around for a long time but, what’s considered “best” has changed over the years. If you’re divorcing now, don’t expect that the courts will determine custody as they might have thirty, twenty, ten, five or even a couple of years ago. If you are thinking about divorce, you should speak with a Tennessee divorce lawyer to discuss your custody rights.
Child Custody in Tennessee is Gender Neutral
The primary caregiver during the marriage has an edge in custody decisions. It is possible to lose custody by failing to “maximize participation” with the other parent. Non-custodial parents could claim that the custodial parent is alienating them. In turn, this may sabotage the parent/child relationship. It is important to never say anything disparaging about the other parent in front of the children. They must be encouraged to see the other parent, even if they show reluctance. Parents are required to submit parenting plans which provide both parents maximum access to their children. When creating a parenting plan, it is expected that you consider work schedules, holidays, and more. The doctrine of parental alienation is controversial. Opponents claim it is being used to intimidate custodial parents and to cover up abuse. It is very difficult to tell whether fear of seeing a parent is due to the parent’s disparagement or the actions of the parent.
The Doctrine of Parental Alienation
Shared Custody and the "Father's Rights Movement"
The Father’s Rights Movement is promoting bills that change the way custody decisions are chose. The movement seeks to abolish the “best interests of the child standard,” and replace it with “shared parenting.” Shared parenting means the children would spend about 50% of their time with each parent. Supporters say it is necessary to end the bias in favor of mothers which judges may apply despite gender neutral laws. Opponents claim it undermines the stability of children’s lives. Laws can change quickly and because of this, it’s important to work with a Tennessee family lawyer who can help you protect your custody rights.
Want to Learn More?
Feel free to browse the Blawg, or contact Gamut Legal to speak with an experienced Tennessee Divorce Attorney.