Navigating Child Custody and Parents Rights in Tennessee

Child Custody

Does Tennessee have 'Child Custody'?

To be clear, the State of Tennessee doesn’t recognize “child custody”. Tennessee has what is known as “parenting time”. In some cases, a parent might receive more parenting time than the other. Therefore the court generally tries for an arrangement allowing both parents the maximum participation possible in their children’s lives.

The legal standard in deciding who parents and what is a “best interest” of the child analysis: If there is parenting litigation, you must be able to show the judge that the child is better off with you.

Tennessee Child Custody Requirements

There are several requirements to adopt a child in the state of Tennessee. For adoption to proceed, a residence in Tennessee must be maintained for at least six months. Second, adoptees must have had physical custody of the child to start with or be able to show the court that they have the right to receive physical custody of the child. Third, a home study must be completed. Furthermore, most potential adoptive parents must undergo a home study to determine if the home is an appropriate place for the child. Instances in which a home study may be waived, occur when the potential parents are also foster parents to the child or the home has already been approved as part of a prior case.

Child Custody Approval Process

In order for the home to be approved, it must be demonstrated that the adoption is also the best interest of the child. Many families are eligible to become adoptive parents. Likewise, there are currently no prohibitions against same-sex couples or other individuals from pursuing adoption. If you are ready to begin the adoption process, Gamut Legal can help. To learn more about how we may serve your family, please set up a call or free consultation.The Tennessee legislature laid out a list of factors to help a judge determine parenting time. 

If you want to view those factors, follow this link: T.C.A §36-6-106(a)(1-15). A judge will evaluate all factors individually. Therefore, parents who show emotional and economic stability, maintain drug-free lifestyles,
and are actively involved in the social and educational development of their child will earn more favor with the judge than parents who are not.

In a divorce, clients are better served if a judge is not the one who decides parenting time. Families are better off coming to an agreement about parenting time through mediation or collaborative settlement. Agreements through mediation, are usually better for the family. This is because the divorce doesn’t have to become lengthy and preserves both parties assets. A divorce is extremely difficult for parents and children. However, some parents feel strongly about which parent should have more parenting time and, as a result, the judge determines the outcome. Therefore, Gamut Legal recommends to exhaust all available options
before letting a judge decide.

What is "Standard Visitation" in Tennessee Law?

The general definition of “standard visitation” in Tennessee means that a non-primary (but still residential) parent enjoys parenting time every other weekend during the year, 2 weeks during Summer, and equally sharing holidays throughout the year. This includes Christmas holidays, and school breaks such as those occurring in Spring and Fall.

What are the different types of child custody in Tennessee?

Typically, custody is split into two types: Physical and Legal. The amount of time a child spends with their parent is based on their type of custody.

Can visitation rights be awarded to non-parents in Tennessee?

The State of Tennessee has laws that may enable persons other than the natural parents to be granted visitation rights. If you are in a situation that is considered to be unconventional, you may want to learn about visitation scenarios such as:

  • Step Parents
  • Visitation rights for Military Parents
  • Grandparents
Child Custody in Tennessee

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If you are looking for a compassionate attorney to handle your child custody case, contact Gamut Legal for a free consultation.

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Family legal cases can be costly and consuming. If you would like to know more about how Gamut Legal can help you navigate your family legal issues, please contact us or schedule a free consultation.