Chattanooga Child Custody Lawyer

When parents separate, one of the most challenging issues to resolve is often where the children will primarily live and when they will spend time with the noncustodial parent. Although both parents usually want what is best for their children, they still may be at odds with one another and unable to reach an agreement. In this situation, you may need to consult a Chattanooga child custody lawyer.

Even legitimate disagreements about what is best for the children can result in significant discord that only a court can resolve. Assistance from an experienced family attorney may be crucial to adequately protecting your rights and obtaining the best possible custody and visitation arrangements for your child.

Child Custody Basics in Chattanooga

Courts in Tennessee now refer to physical custody as the responsibility to provide a physical residence for the child. As a result, state law requires that the court name one parent as the primary residential parent (PRP) and the other as the alternate residential parent (ARP).

In some cases, the court may institute a parenting plan that allows parents to share equal time with their children. In other cases, one parent is the PRP most of the time, with the ARP having regularly scheduled parenting time with the children as part of the court-approved parenting plan. 

Fighting for Child Custody

While many situations involve two fit parents, there are some situations in which one parent must take a stand against the other and fight for primary custody of children, typically because they believe the other parent poses harm or danger to the child. Common examples of conditions that might lead to one parent seeking sole custody of children may include:

  • One parent is unfit to care for the children due to mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, or sexual abuse issues
  • A residential parent actively tries to alienate the children from the other parent
  • The other parent wants to move out of state or a long distance away with the children.
  • One parent is a foreign national who may attempt to take the children to a foreign country without consent

Trying to handle contested custody battles without the assistance of legal counsel is likely to be highly challenging, primarily when counsel represents the other parent. Appropriate legal knowledge and experience is a virtual necessity in child custody proceedings, and any of these disputed child custody situations may necessitate the intervention of a Chattanooga child custody attorney.

Factors that Affect Custody in Chattanooga

Child custody orders are generally based on the best interests of the child. However, when judges are making child custody determinations, they must consider various statutory factors. Tennessee Code Annotated §36-6-106 sets forth these factors, some of which include:

  • The physical and emotional health of the parents
  • Evidence of physical or emotional abuse of the child
  • Which parent has been the primary caregiver
  • The length of time that the child has lived in a stable environment and the importance of continuing that stability 

Judges can also consider other relevant criteria that may be unique to a specific child custody case. For instance, judges might consider the special needs of a child, parental alienation by either parent, and family support systems in determining the best primary residence for the child. As a child custody lawyer in Chattanooga may advise, these factors also may affect decisions about the amount of time that the nonresidential parent should be permitted to spend with the child.

Call a Chattanooga Child Custody Attorney for Advice

Engaging in a child custody dispute, while not preferable, is sometimes essential for the best interests of your children. A Chattanooga child custody lawyer may be able to assist you in meeting your goals.

Prevailing in a contested child custody matter requires a clear understanding of the factors that affect child custody determinations. By working closely with legal counsel, you may be in a better position to achieve your objectives for your children. Call today to learn more about your options.

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