Child Custody

Strong Child Custody Representation for Parents Who are Divorcing or Separating

Helping mothers and fathers create the best parenting plans possible

Every child custody decision is based on what is in the best interests of the children. Parents, whether married or not, need to show that every decision they make- where the child lives, who makes the key decisions for the children, where the child goes to school - is for their children's best interest. Custody in Tennessee is decided as part of the divorce proceedings if the parents are married. It is decided as part of a custody case if the parents are unwed.

The Middle Tennessee child custody attorneys at The Law Office Of Tara Carter understand how important it is for parents to provide for their sons and daughters. We work to show our clients are best suited to provide for their children on a daily and long-term basis. Our child custody attorneys negotiate strong parenting plans. In some cases, we suggest that mediation can help resolve child custody decisions without placing pressure on the children. When necessary, we present your custody case before the family court judge.

The Tennessee child custody parenting plan

All custody agreements or orders must be made part of a permanent parenting plan. The key parts of the permanent plan parenting are deciding:

Physical custody. This custody type determines where the child will reside. One parent is generally designated the primary residential parent while the other parent is the alternate residential parent. The primary residential parent is the parent with whom the child spends the majority of his/her time. During the time a child is with a parent, that parent is responsible for feeding the child, getting the child to school, disciplining the child, and monitoring the child's activities and friends.

Legal custody. This custody type determines who makes crucial long-term decisions for the child such as which schools the child attends, the child's religious upbringing, and healthcare decisions for the child. Legal custody is often shared between both parents.

Additional parenting issues. The parenting plan should detail many other decisions such as how holidays and vacations are handled, the transfer of the child from one parent to the other, and how disputes will be resolved.

Factors that determine custody in Middle Tennessee

The primary consideration is what is in the best interest of the child. The factors that judges consider to determine what is in the child's best interests are:

  • The ability of the caregiver to provide a safe, caring home for the child. This ability is tempered by the property division, for married parents, so that the focus is on who can care for the child over which parent is the richest.
  • The desire for stability in the child's home, school, and social environments
  • The mental and physical health of the parents and the children
  • The relation between parents and other members of both families
  • Any history of abuse of any type
  • The child's preference if he/she is 12 years of age or older
Once the parenting plan is determined, changes to the plan are only permitted if there is a significant change in circumstances of one of the key custody factors and a change would be in the child's best interest.

Custody orders can also be changed if a parent is a service member and is called to active duty.

Parental Relocation

Sometimes, a parent needs to move to another home in Tennessee or across state lines. Tennessee has strict requirements for parents who want to move to another state or 50 miles or more away from their current home. The key requirement is that they must give the other parent at least 60 days' notice of the move. The notice should set forth:

  • The parents new address
  • The intent to relocate
  • The reason for the move
  • A statement that the co-parent can object to the move within the next 30 days
If the parents can't work out a new parenting plan, our Middle Tennessee custody attorneys present evidence at a custody move hearing on the following:
  • The need for stability in the child's life
  • A discussion of what changes to the custody order should be approved including a visitation schedule
  • Concerns about whether the parent will comply with the new parenting plan and how disputes should be handled if the parent moves to another state
  • The preferences of older children

At The Law Office Of Tara Carter, we understand how upsetting divorce and separation are for children and parents. We work with counselors, teachers, parents, and their families to document and prove that what is in the best interests of the children is what our client wants for the child. To discuss how our respected Middle Tennessee child custody attorneys can guide you through the custody process, please call us at (615) 495-6000 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment. We represent parents who live in Lebanon, Brentwood, Goodlettsville, Hendersonville, Murfreesboro, Nashville, and the surrounding areas.