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Child custody basics for Montgomery County parents

Parents in the Montgomery County area know how much their children mean to them. Most parents would do anything to see their children happy. But what happens when the marriage that parents are in is crumbling and is leading to stress and unhappiness in both the parent's and the child's life? Divorce is usually an option on the horizon for a parent in an unproductive marriage. There are some things divorcing parents should be a aware of when it comes to how child custody is handled in the Tennessee courts.

For starters, child custody is defined in a few different ways. There is physical custody and legal custody and depending on the type of custody a parent obtains, it can affect the decisions they are able to make in their child's life. Legal custody is important because if a parent has legal custody they are able to make big decisions in a child's life such as education and healthcare. Physical custody is equally important because it determines if the child is legally able to live with that parent for a majority of the time. It is possible to have physical and legal custody with a joint custody arrangement, among a few other possible arrangements.

If a parent does not have physical or legal custody of their child, they may have access to visitation rights. On the other hand, some parents decide to split the time with the child equally, this is joint custody. Whatever custody arrangement parents or the courts decide, the best interests of the child should always be the primary concern.

If the parents can agree, they can come up with any custody arrangement that best suits them and their child. This is likely one of the most important changes a child can have in their life and it is important to make this change with the child's best interests in mind and with as little stress as possible. Child custody decisions can have a happy ending that result in all parties satisfied with the arrangement. If parents cannot agree on custody, however, they should understand how to assert their rights in court.

Source: FindLaw, "Child Custody Basics," Accessed Sept. 14, 2015

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