Concerned Child Custody Lawyers in Jackson, Tennessee Resolve Contentious Disputes
Dedicated assistance for parents throughout West Tennessee
Child custody is one of the most fiercely litigated issues in a Tennessee divorce. However, aggressive litigation is not always the best way for spouses to settle their differences. At Grant & Sain, PLLC, we understand the urgency of protecting your parental rights and safeguarding your child’s health and welfare. We are fathers, committed to doing everything possible for our own children. We know that contentious court proceedings can be distressing to children who already may find themselves caught between two parents whom they love equally. Fortunately, child custody law in Tennessee has gone through many changes in recent years to bring greater fairness to the process of deciding custody matters. This makes it possible to craft practical parenting plans through negotiation and mediation that protect your rights, advance your child’s best interests, and win court approval.
Understanding the basics of Tennessee child custody
Tennessee child custody law has gone through many changes since 2001, making many common terms and practices obsolete. Today, there are two basic types of parental rights:
- Residential rights — What used to be called physical custody is the responsibility to provide a residence for the child. Parents can be designated primary residential parent (PRP) or alternate residential parent (ARP) depending on the proportion of time the child lives under their roof. When both parents are capable of being primary caregivers, courts generally favor as close to a 50-50 sharing of time as possible. A parent who does not provide a residence for the child can have regularly scheduled parenting time under a court-approved parenting plan.
- Decision-making authority — What used to be called legal custody and is now referred to as decision-making authority is the right to make important decisions involving the child’s health, education, religious formation, enrichment activities, and so on. Decision-making authority can be shared, or the court may designate one parent to make decisions. Courts may also designate specific areas in which a parent has decision-making authority, especially in cases where a child has special needs and one of the parents has specialized knowledge or abilities.
Our family law attorneys help you negotiate a practical, manageable parenting plan that fits your lifestyle and your child’s needs.
Strong representation for contentious custody issues
There are times when it is perfectly appropriate to fight aggressively for full custody of your child. These include situations where:
- The other parent is unfit — Drug or alcohol addiction, anger issues and a history of domestic violence or sexual abuse are reasons to find a parent unfit, and to deny custody or parenting time.
- The other parent is deliberately trying to alienate your children from you — Residential parents who do not fulfill their duty to make their children available for parenting time face sanctions from the court.
- The other parent wants to move out of state with the children — Relocation at a distance that would place a significant burden on the other parent’s parenting time requires court permission.
- The other parent is a flight risk — If you are married to a foreign national who might attempt to take your children to another country, there are steps you can take to prevent that from happening.
Custody litigation can be stressful for your children, especially if they are required to undergo psychological evaluations and/or make court appearances. You can rest assured our divorce lawyers have ample experience managing this type of litigation. We strive to deliver the aggressive representation you need while minimizing the negative impact on your children.
Special issues for unmarried parents
Parents who were never married often have to settle custody issues through a paternity action. Either the mother or the father can ask the court to settle a paternity question, usually through a DNA test. If a man is determined to be the father of a child, he is responsible for child support, which can be imposed retroactively to the time of the child’s birth. However, a father also has custody rights he can enforce against the mother by asking the court to establish a parenting time schedule. Paternity actions can also be necessary when a mother wants to terminate a father’s parental rights so she can place a child for adoption.
Contact our Jackson, TN law firm for determined child custody representation
Grant & Sain, PLLC wants to be your local law firm in West Tennessee. In child custody matters, we serve our clients professionally, capably and personally. To schedule a consultation with one of our partner attorneys, call 731-410-7832 or contact our Jackson office online.