Determining and understanding legal child custody in Chattanooga is something that needs to be done if you have children and are going through a divorce. Depending on if the divorce was uncontested and amicable, you and your former spouse could have more options available. To better understand what is required of you, speak to a legal representative today.
Legal custody gives each parent the right to make decisions for the child most notably, educational decisions, medical decisions, extracurricular activities, and input in the child’s religious upbringing. It gives each parent or one parent the right to make important decisions for that child and the right to spend time and parent that child.
Legal custody could be shared between parents, and most commonly it is shared. However, there may be a parenting plan that has one parent spending more time with the child than the other, but just because the parenting time may be unequal, it does not mean that parties are unable to share joint custody of a child.
Even in situations where parties have joint parenting time and equal parenting time with the child, a court is going to order one parent to be the primary residential parent and one parent to be the alternate parent. If a person is the primary parent in a situation like that when the child attends school in their school zone. That may be very important in some cases. Oftentimes, parents that are able to work amicably with each other choose a primary parent based on which parent lives in a more favorable school zone.
There is a new law that was passed in July of this year that allows parties to agree on becoming Joint Primary Residential Parents, but it can only be accomplished upon agreement of the parties. In the event that a court must make a decision on a parenting schedule, the court would have to pick a primary residential parent.
The rights and responsibilities associated with legal custody of children are the right to parent the child, to spend time with the child, determine where the child is going to be on a day-to-day basis, as well as making major decisions for that child. Each parent is going to have the Parental Bill of Rights outlined in TCA §36-6-101, which gives a parent right to have certain information and certain communication with their child.
In Tennessee, the Court no longer has jurisdiction to Order a Parenting Schedule once a child turns 18, but the Court may order for child support to be paid in the case of an 18-year-old who is still attending high school.
There are situations that, in the event a child is disabled, parents would need to have ongoing custodial rights to the child, but that is not going to be done through the custody process. It is going to be done through a conservatorship process. Once that child reaches the age of 18, they will no longer have a parenting plan. They shift the case to a conservatorship if that child is disabled and has a need for ongoing care and control.
When vying for legal custody of a child in Chattanooga, you need to consider working with an attorney. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could have options available to you that you were not aware of. The only way to better understand your options is to speak to an attorney. Reach out today to speak with a team of caring attorneys.
By: Amanda S.
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