Clarksville Child Custody Attorney
Dedicated to helping couples resolve child custody matters
Nothing in the divorce process is quite as emotionally-charged as discussions pertaining to the children of a divorce, including matters of child custody, visitation. Dedicated family lawyer Ryan K. McFarland has been helping Montgomery County families resolve child custody, child visitation, and other family matters since 2004, and is willing and prepared to work directly with you from the start to the finish of your child custody case.
Custody decisions serve child’s best interests
As is the case in other states, Tennessee presumes that when parents divorce, it is in the best interests of the children to have regular, ongoing contact with both parents. And so, in most cases, judges prefer joint custody arrangements. However, in some situations, the court determines that it is in the best interests of the child to have a different custody arrangement or to award greater custody to one parent. In making this best interests determination, judges generally consider the following factors; the quality of the child’s relationship with each parent; relationships with siblings, other relatives, the community, and school; any history of domestic abuse or substance abuse, and preference of the child if twelve years or more. An experienced family law attorney who is knowledgeable of Tennessee divorce laws can advocate on your behalf.
Understanding child custody: The role of parents and judges
Tennessee courts prefer that parents try and resolve custody issues on their own and, in fact, encourage parents to present a proposed parenting schedule. In some situations, a judge will require that parents participate in mediation to address custody issues. A judge will determine whether the child’s best interests are served with the parents’ proposed plan and ultimately has the final decision. In cases where the parents are unable to agree on the terms of child custody, a judge will decide the custody arrangement after a trial or formal hearing and will consider a list of many specific factors, codified at TCA §36-6-106, that focus on the child’s best interests, well-being, and stability.
If no agreement is reached, the visitation rights of the primary residential parent and the alternative residential parent will be determined by the court including the details of the schedule, such as time and place. While the parent with primary residential custody over the child has greater control over the visitation schedule, judges do make note of any uncooperative behavior, not only in awarding a parent primary residential status but in any future requests from the court.
Older children may express their wishes
In Tennessee, the court will hear and consider the wishes of a child over the age of 12 years as it pertains to child custody decisions. The court can also choose to hear and consider the wishes of any children under the age of 12 years. Involving a child in this difficult situation can negatively impact the child’s well-being and the courts do not look kindly upon a child being coached or compelled into participating.
Child custody decisions are difficult, our compassionate Clarksville child custody lawyer is here to help
Of all the issues that must be resolved in the divorce process, the decision regarding child custody and visitation is perhaps the most emotionally difficult. Family lawyer Ryan K. McFarland of McFarland Law understands how challenging this can be, and brings compassionate, experienced counsel to child custody and visitation cases. To discuss child custody and visitation matters in your divorce, schedule a confidential consultation by contacting the office at (931) 516-9009 or online. McFarland Law is located in Clarksville and serves all of Montgomery County.