There can be a lot of confusion surrounding child custody laws for Tennessee parents. If you plan to seek primary custody of your children, knowing who decides custody, the difference between legal and physical custody, the best interest of the child, and what factors influence custody and that child custody can be changed.
Who decides upon custody
Ultimately, a judge will sign off on any custody decisions. That doesn’t mean that courts always decide child custody cases. If you and your ex-partner can agree upon a private parenting agreement, you may be able to avoid much of the time spent in court.
What is the difference between legal and physical custody
Physical custody refers to where the children will live. Legal custody refers to who will decide for the child, including medical, education and religion. Both parents can share joint physical and joint legal custody. It is also possible for one to have primary physical custody and joint legal custody.
What factors are considered when awarding custody
If contested, decisions upon custody can be made based on a variety of factors, including things like the child’s relationship with each parent, the parent’s willingness to encourage a connection between the child and another parent, and any special or medical needs of the child.
Can child custody decisions be changed
There are times when parenting plans or child custody agreements will need to be amended. For example, if one parent moves far away from the child’s established school, the other parent may be considered for primary physical custody. Different situations that may warrant amending the agreement can include a parent’s death or the safety of the child being in question.
What does the child’s “best interest” mean
The best interest of the child often includes a loving and supportive environment. Usually, courts consider both parents’ involvement to be ideal.