While increasingly parents who separate or divorce are opting for shared or joint custody arrangements, today in Tennessee it is still more likely that a child will live primarily with one parent, who is referred to as the custodial parent. Both custodial and non-custodial parents in Tennessee have rights and responsibilities and, to avoid conflict and foster a positive co-parenting relationship, it’s important that divorced or separated parents understand these rights and responsibilities as well as the laws surrounding child custody.
What Rights Do Non-Custodial Parents In Tennessee Have?
When it comes to child custody arrangements and issues, the courts always consider a child’s best interests and wishes. That being said, under Tennessee law, non-custodial parents do have rights.
Unless there is a compelling reason to rule otherwise, non-custodial parents are afforded the following rights:
- Phone calls with a child two times per week
- Email access to a child and/or co-parent and the right to get information as quickly as possible
- 24-hour notification when a child is sick, injured or hospitalized
- Access to a child’s medical and school records
Additionally, in cases where a custodial parent wishes to leave the state with a child for more than two days, he or she must provide the non-custodial parent with a detailed itinerary. Non-custodial parents also have the right to be a part of their child’s education and to be notified at least 48 hours in advance of extracurricular activities so that they have time to make arrangements to attend. Derogatory remarks about a non-custodial parent or related family members should also never be made in a child’s presence.
When a Tennessee Parent’s Rights Are Not Respected or Upheld
In some cases, the rights of a non-custodial parent are not upheld or respected. If this happens, a non-custodial parent may attempt to work with a custodial parent to make positive changes. However, if his or her efforts are met with resistance or fail, it’s a good idea to reach out to an attorney for legal advice and assistance. An attorney who handles family law and child custody issues can work to ensure that a non-custodial parent’s rights are respected and enforced.