When parents go through divorce, they strive to do everything in their power to protect the best interests of their children. For some families, allowing the children to have equal time with both parents through a joint child custody arrangement is one way to do this. In fact, many Tennessee courts now see the benefits of this specific type of custody and visitation plan.
In the past, it was much more likely that mothers would get primary custody of the children. Often, dads were left with just weekend visitation. Today, courts are more likely to prefer joint physical and legal custody, which means parents share the right to make decisions on behalf of their children as well as parenting time. This provides stability for kids, which is good for their mental and emotional health in the short and long-term.
However, the court must make a determination about what is in the best interests of the children, considering the factors listed in T.C.A. § 36-6-106. This is why it is important to consult with an attorney regarding all the factors that affect your children and how they will affect you in court.
It may not be realistic for Brentwood parents to expect joint custody to mean they will each have exactly equal amounts of parenting time, though there certainly are arrangements that accomplish just that. In the very least, it should mean that each parent will have a meaningful amount of access to the kids. The ultimate goal of any custody plan is to protect the best interests of the children above all else.
When parents are facing divorce, it can be helpful to consider all available options regarding child custody. For many families, joint custody offers a reasonable solution to one of the most complex issues in a divorce. Regardless of whether parents will decide on custody on their own or have the court resolve ongoing issues, a family law attorney can help a client understand his or her parental rights and how to protect them.