When making a custody decision, Tennessee courts strive to order a parenting plan that is in the children’s best interest. It can be frustrating for parents to find that the court’s decision does not always align with what they feel is in their child’s best interest.
It is essential to understand what the court will factor in when determining the best interest of the child in Red Bank, Tennessee. Per Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-6-401, children are best served by a parenting arrangement that supports a child’s growth, health, and stability. After considering the children’s best interest, the court will attempt to allow both parents as much access as possible to their children. Unless there is a reason not to, it is generally considered best for the child to spend time with each parent.
One of the most important factors the court will look at when considering the child’s best interest in Red Bank is the parenting status quo. A judge will evaluate the strength and stability of a child’s relationship with each parent, including whether one parent has historically performed the majority of parenting duties, per Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-6-106.
When creating a parenting plan for a child, the court considers how much each parent has taken responsibility for day-to-day parenting duties. There is strong case law precedent to structure custody orders in a way that interferes with the existing parent-child relationships as little as possible.
The court will try to maintain the pattern of interaction the child is accustomed to, only changing the schedule as much as is necessary due to the changed relationship between the parents. For example, if one parent historically got the children ready for school and helped them with their homework in the evening, the court will try to design a plan that allows that routine to continue.
The court will consider who has performed the majority of parenting functions in the past and each parent’s potential for future performance of parenting responsibilities. In some cases, the court will find that although a parent has not taken on primary parenting functions in the past, they have a strong potential to perform those duties well in the future.
The court will also evaluate each parent’s ability to foster a good relationship with the other parent. Tennessee courts strongly disfavor a parent who discourages a child from having a good relationship with their other parent. When the court is determining the child’s best interest in Red Bank, they will consider which parent is more likely to uphold court-ordered parenting arrangements. Any history of violating court orders or denying parenting time is strongly frowned upon by the court. A parent who engages in these behaviors could be seen as not having the children’s best interest in mind.
The court will also consider the child’s ties to their surroundings, such as the school they have historically attended and their relationships with other relatives and role models.
Another factor the court will evaluate is the preference of a child who is 12 years or older. It is important to remember that the court does not let a child choose where they want to live after the age of 12, only that they will consider their preferences. In Tennessee, there is no age at which a child can dictate where they want to live.
Your idea about what is best for your children may not align with what the court considers best for them. A skilled lawyer could help you present a case for your preferred custody schedule and help the court see your point of view when determining the best interest of the child in Red Bank.
Schedule a consultation with a Red Bank family attorney today to get advice and guidance on how the court may determine a parenting plan for your children.