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Pondering divorce? Know this about child custody

Thinking about divorce often means contemplating a very different life from the one you currently lead. The end of your marriage might mean that you live somewhere different and that your entire daily schedule changes.

When you share children with your spouse, a divorce will also have implications for your relationship with each other. There are many people in Tennessee who delay planning for divorce because they worry about what the end of their marriage might mean for their children.

If you learn more about the Tennessee approach to child custody matters, you may feel a little more confident about picturing your life after your marriage.

Tennessee wants what is best for the children

Divorce may primarily be about issues between the parents, but the courts want to keep the focus on the children when it comes to custody considerations. The law in Tennessee requires that a judge hearing litigated custody matters make the best interests of the children their top priority.

For most families, judges prefer shared custody solutions. That doesn’t necessarily mean a 50/50 split so much as it means keeping both parents as involved as is practical or safe given the family circumstances. There are certain, unusual family issues that may lead to a deviation from the presumption of shared custody being best for the children.

Specifically, situations involving domestic violence, substance abuse, physical or mental health issues and neglect can lead to one parent receiving sole custody while the other only has visitation rights. Judges expect to see evidence of issues like addiction or family violence if one parent asks the courts to factor that into their custody decisions.

Fighting often doesn’t help the situation

Unless you need to seek sole custody for the protection of your children, engaging in a contentious custody battle might do more harm than good. It can cost a lot of money, and it can also make you look like an uncooperative parent to the judge presiding over your case.

Being realistic about the likely outcome of your divorce proceedings and embracing co-parenting as a necessary part of your life after marriage can help you be more reasonable and realistic when approaching custody matters in your upcoming divorce. You always have the option of negotiating your parenting plan outside of court. Learning more about Tennessee’s custody rules can give you confidence about your decision to file for divorce.


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