Murfreesboro Child Custody Attorney
Keeping Your Child’s Best Interests in Mind
As parents navigate their divorce, the issue that often weighs heaviest on their minds is custody. What will happen to your kid(s) once you finalize the divorce?
If you are concerned with custody matters, rest assured that Mitchell E. Shannon, Attorney at Law can help. Our firm offers comprehensive representation to parents navigating divorce and negotiating custody arrangements. We understand how vital this topic is to you – and we want to help you implement an effective solution that reflects your child’s best interests while upholding your rights as a parent.
Types of Child Custody in Tennessee
The state of Tennessee recognizes two types of custody: legal and physical. One or both types of custody can be awarded as sole custody or joint custody.
Legal vs. Physical Custody
Legal custody refers to decision-making powers regarding important life decisions for the child such as medical, educational, religious, etc.
Physical custody simply refers to who the child lives with.
Joint vs. Sole Custody
Joint custody is when the parents share legal and/or physical custody – in fact, this is generally the courts’ preferred arrangement if possible.
Sole custody is when one parent to have sole legal and/or physical custody.
Temporary Custody in TN
When parents are divorced or separated, and the primary parent is unable to care for the child, temporary custody may be filed. In Tennessee, this is also called temporary guardianship. The time allotted with the child can be overnight or for an extended period. Generally, when the initial divorce case is being presented to the court, issues such as support, visitation, spousal maintenance, and temporary custody are decided.
It is the duty of the temporary guardian to ensure that the child has adequate food & shelter, and proper healthcare & education.
The following may petition for temporary custody:
- An entitled petitioner who has filed for either transfer of guardian or termination of parental rights
- The court motions for it
- The attorney decided for the child
Keep in mind that the court may or may not rule in your favor for temporary custody. The child’s well-being will always be the priority.
Primary Residential Parents & Parenting Plans
Tennessee also recognizes a primary residential parent (PRP). Whichever parent the child lives with more than 50% of the time is the PRP, while the other parent is the alternative residential parent (ARP). Even if the parents share physical custody 50/50, a PRP must be established for legal reasons.
Even with an established PRP and ARP, a parenting plan will be created to allocate decision-making authority between the parents.
The parenting plan will address decision-making abilities for matters such as:
- Extracurricular activities
How is Child Custody Determined in Tennessee?
Parents filing for divorce have the option of establishing custody arrangements and a parenting plan on their own. However, any plan must be approved by the court.
If the parents cannot come to an agreement on their custody arrangements, the court will intervene, and a judge will reorder a plan that is believed to be in the best interests of the child.
When determining custody, family law courts will consider:
- The child’s wishes if they are mature enough
- Any history of domestic abuse or child negligence
- Each parent’s mental and physical health
- The child’s mental and physical health
- Each parent’s willingness to adhere to a parenting plan and respect the other parent’s rights
- The child’s current community and whether he/she could adapt to changes
- Where each parent intends to live
- Each parent’s ability to adequately care and provide for the child
Tennessee Child Custody Laws for Unmarried Parents
In Tennessee, if the parents are married when the child is born, then the courts will presume that the husband is the father, which means that the mother and father will have full custody rights. However, if the parents of the child are unmarried when the child is born, then the state will only grant full legal and physical custody rights to the mother of the child. The father won’t have any rights or responsibilities regarding custody until paternity is established.
If this situation applies to you, don’t hesitate to contact our firm for further advice.
Contact Our Firm Today
Mitchell E. Shannon, Attorney at Law is committed to helping you navigate even the toughest custody case. Whether you are negotiating your case through mediation or taking the matter to court, our Murfreesboro child custody attorney can be there for you every step of the way.
Have further questions about custody in Tennessee? Call us at (615) 235-6608 today.