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Do the Different Types of Child Custody Affect Children Over the Age of 12 in Tennessee?

— April 29, 2022

When parents cannot agree on matters related to their children, a judge may end up making the decision.

A family law attorney addresses legal issues that may create a wide array of unchecked emotions and irrational actions by family members who are negatively impacted, requiring an impartial and reasonable voice, especially when children are involved.  Tennessee child custody attorneys provide qualified advice, supported by first-hand knowledge of state laws directing matters related to divorce, child custody and correlating child support and alimony that may impact the wellbeing of a child.  

Child custody

When minor children are involved in the divorce process, action is required to establish who the child will live with, or if the child’s time will be shared among both parents. Child custody lawyers will explain Tennessee State child custody laws to clients, as they pertain to both parents’ legal responsibility to the children. Battles involving child custody are best addressed with an experienced attorney, because the outcomes can be devastating for families. Tennessee utilizes parenting plans when working on child custody issues, and custody will be shared between the primary residential parent (PRP) and the alternative residential parent (ARP).  

Parenting plan

Tennessee Family Law courts prefer the parents work together to draft their own parenting plan with the interests of the children in mind.  The plan will include time spent with each parent independent of the other, and break down when each parent will have the child in their residence.  Issues surrounding education, healthcare, religion, community involvement, and other activities will need to be addressed and agreed upon.  A court will review the drafted plan and consider the best interests of children, confirming that the child will be in contact with both parents void of parental conflicts that should remain between the adults.  Arbitration, or mediation may be mentioned in the drafted document as a means to settle disputes that will arise during the child’s growth.  If a judge agrees to a plan, it will be adopted as a Tennessee child custody order.  If one parent is not adhering to the agreed-upon plan, it may be best to hire child custody attorneys who can file a formal order to request changes for custody.

Judge decision on custody

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Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

When parents cannot agree on matters related to their children, a judge may end up making the decision by looking at factors to determine a child’s schedule when living with both parents and how that will work in the child’s best interests. The considerations may include a parent’s ability to maintain stability for the child, provide for them, provide a positive relationship with their child, their ability to meet the child’s basic needs and be available to them, so work schedules may also be considered.  If a child is over the age of 12 years in the State of Tennessee, a just will take their wishes into consideration.  

Child support impacted by custody

A child custody attorney can help with the review and preparation of child support information sheets; support obligation income affidavits; child support guidelines forms; and a child support guideline notice of compliance, or when child support for unmarried individuals is requested.  When one party is delinquent, or refuses to pay child support, a child support attorney can be of assistance in locating them through state judicial processes and initiating wage garnishments, or fiscal levy to collect support arrears. 

Seek legal counsel

A comprehensive marriage settlement agreement addressing all important facets of a failed marriage may increase the ability to maintain a stable family future where divorcing spouses do not harbor resentment, so it is important to seek assistance from child custody attorneys in Nashville. This document may help diffuse tensions between parents allowing for an amicable child custody working arrangement where a child is not caught in the middle of disputes.


Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-6-106. Child custody.

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