Memphis Child Custody Lawyer
Divorce is a complicated and emotional matter, the difficulties of which are compounded when the divorcing couple has one or more children in common. Even where the spouses are in agreement as to the need for a divorce and all the issues pertinent thereto, a decision must still be made as to who will receive primary residential custody of the child or children. More often than not, divorce proceedings become heated and contentious over the issue of child custody and divorced parents may find themselves returning to court periodically to re-litigate this issue.
The decision as to which parent the child will reside is an important one that can affect both the primary residential parent, the other parent, and the child for years to come. That is why it is important that your interests and those of your child are properly represented by a Memphis child custody attorney from Douglass & Runger, PLLC, Attorneys at Law.
How Does a Court Decide Child Custody Issues in Tennessee?
As part of the divorce process, the court will need to make a determination as to which parent will be designated the “primary residential parent.” This parent will be the one with whom the child will live the majority of the time; the other parent will receive visitation according to the permanent parenting plan adopted by the court. In all matters involving child custody, a court is guided by the “best interests of the child” – that is, while the wishes of the parents regarding child custody are taken into consideration, the court is free to make its own rulings based on what it believes to be best for the child’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Even an agreement between the parties as to child custody can be rejected by the court if the court believes it is not in the best interest of the child.
In determining which parent will receive primary residential custody, the court is directed to consider a number of factors. No one factor is decisive: rather, the court is to take each factor into consideration in any given case when making its decision. Factors to be considered include:
- The nature of the child’s relationship with each parent;
- Which parent has been the primary caregiver for the child during the marriage;
- Which parent would afford the child the most continuity in terms of the residence, neighborhood, friends, and/or school that the child has become accustomed to;
- Whether either parent has abused the child in any fashion or manner;
- The work schedules of the parents;
- Any other party that might be residing with a parent and who may have interactions with the child (a new live-in boyfriend or girlfriend of one of the parents, for instance); and/or
- The desires of the child (note: the opinion of a child over the age of 12 is given some weight by the court; the older the child, the more weight this is given)
Changing Child Custody in Tennessee
A child custody determination made by a court is rarely static: it can be reviewed and, if necessary, modified. In order for a child custody to be modified, there must have been a material change in circumstance since the last child custody order was entered and the proposed modification must be in the best interest of the child. An experienced Tennessee child custody attorney can help you determine if both of these necessary elements are present in your case.
Talk with a Knowledgeable Memphis Child Custody Lawyer Today
There is no such thing as a “typical divorce” – each couple’s situation and circumstances are different and can involve complicated questions of law. The advice and counsel of a Tennessee divorce lawyer from Douglass & Runger, PLLC, Attorneys at Law can help ensure that your divorce is properly filed and that your interests are represented through the process. Contact Douglass & Runger, PLLC, Attorneys at Law today at (901) 388-5805 to learn more about receiving legal counsel during your divorce proceedings.