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The various forms of child custody -- Part II

Most Tennessee residents know what child custody is and the general forms it can take. The previous blog post discussed four types of child custody, including physical, joint, legal and sole. If any parent in a joint child-custody arrangement feels that the other parent is taking unfair advantage of their current arrangement, then the parent is free to approach a Tennessee court and request a change from joint custody to sole custody. In general, courts are less inclined to grant sole custody because they feel that joint custody is in the best interests of most children.

Courts do prefer sole custody in cases in which one parent is abusing alcohol or drugs, has a history of violent behavior or has been alleged to have been abusive to the person's ex-spouse and children. If the parent has started living with someone who is deemed unfit to take care of the child, then a Tennessee court may award sole custody to the other parent.

Where joint custody is awarded, parents are expected to draw up plans that show how they will share their parenting responsibilities. The plans should consider the work schedules of both parents, the child's school schedule and the child's specific needs. When parents live farther from each other, then the child will usually live with one parent and then split holidays between the two parents.

In a more recent type of arrangement, a child will be allowed to maintain residence in a home shared by both parents, with the parents splitting time in the home. This arrangement allows the child to feel a sense of security and stability as the child shares time with both parents. Although the arrangement definitely meets the best interests of a child, the arrangement can be too disruptive to the parents' lives.

Source: FindLaw, "The Various Types of Child Custody," Accessed on July 7, 2015

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