The last thing you wanted when you decided to divorce was to get drawn into a long, contentious battle over child custody issues. At first, it seemed as though your spouse was willing to cooperate and compromise as needed to protect the best interests of your children. Then, something changed and your spouse started to object to every suggestion you made for a new parenting plan until the two of you were barely able to discuss the matter without arguing.
Sometimes, spouses need the court's intervention to help resolve such problems. The thing is, you live in one state and your former spouse lives in another, so you're not sure what to do regarding possible litigation. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act may provide an answer to your questions. The UCCJEA grants jurisdiction in child custody matters to a child's home state. Therefore, if your child lives with you here in Tennessee, then the Tennessee court is the ultimate voice of authority in your case.
Facts you should know about child custody in Tennessee
It's crucial to research all custody and visitation regulations before entering court proceedings. It's also difficult to protect your rights if you don't know what they are to begin with. The good news is there are legal support systems available to answer all your questions and provide any and all support you may need as you seek to obtain a fair and agreeable parenting plan for your children. The following facts may apply to your situation:
- In Tennessee, the court does not automatically grant joint custody to both parents. In fact, the court may grant care, control or custody to one or the other parent at its own discretion.
- As in all of its decisions regarding the welfare of children, the court considers the children's best interests as its highest priority in such matters.
- Noncustodial parents also have rights concerning their children in this state. Such rights include the ability to access school or medical records, uninhibited postal mail correspondence that the other parent may not censor, at least 40 hours notice of special events, sporting games or other extracurricular activities, and the right to receive an itinerary of any vacations the custodial parent plans that include the children.
- An existing court order is not changeable without returning to court. If your spouse refuses to adhere to an existing order, you have the right to bring it to the immediate attention of the court.
Most good parents want what is best for their children, but sometimes personal problems between parents get in the way of negotiating an appropriate parenting plan. Getting divorced doesn't mean you abdicate your parental rights; it also doesn't mean you have to sit back and do nothing if someone violates or tries to undermine those rights.
Many Tennessee parents rely on experienced support from family law attorneys to resolve challenging child custody problems.