2000 Mallory Lane Suite 130-386
Franklin, Tennessee 37067

1 (615) 472-8845
MGM@DIVMIKE.COM

Child Custody

Child custody is perhaps the most complex and emotionally-wrenching issue that couples going through a divorce have to resolve.  When called upon to make a decision regarding the custody of a minor child, the Court’s primary concern is always “the best interests of the child” – not the concerns or convenience of the adult parties involved.  The Court is required to apply numerous statutory factors, controlling case-law, and their own individual discretion.  It is a fact-driven process, and the Court will try to craft a custodial situation that allows the child to enjoy the affection and encouragement of both parents whenever possible.



When awarding custody, the Court will consider the following factors:
  1. The parent's ability to instruct, inspire, and encourage the child to prepare for a life of service, and to compete successfully in the society that the child faces as an adult;
  2. The relative strength, nature, and stability of the child's relationship with each parent, including whether a parent has taken greater responsibility for performing parenting responsibilities relating to the daily needs of the child;
  3. The willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent, consistent with the best interests of the child;
  4. Willful refusal to attend a court-ordered parent education seminar may be considered by the court as evidence of that parent's lack of good faith in these proceedings;
  5. The disposition of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, education and other necessary care;
  6. The degree to which a parent has been the primary caregiver, defined as the parent who has taken the greater responsibility for performing parental responsibilities;
  7. The love, affection, and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child;
  8. The emotional needs and developmental level of the child;
  9. The character and physical and emotional fitness of each parent as it relates to each parent's ability to parent or the welfare of the child;
  10. The child's interaction and interrelationships with siblings and with significant adults, as well as the child's involvement with the child's physical surroundings, school, or other significant activities;
  11. The importance of continuity in the child's life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment;
  12. Evidence of physical or emotional abuse to the child, to the other parent or to any other person;
  13. The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent and such person's interactions with the child
  14. The reasonable preference of the child if twelve (12) years of age or older. The court may hear the preference of a younger child upon request. The preference of older children should normally be given greater weight than those of younger children;
  15. Each parent's employment schedule, and the court may make accommodations consistent with those schedules; and
  16. Any other factors deemed relevant by the court.
When considering a divorce or legal separation it is extremely important that you discuss these (and other) factors with an attorney.  Even if your case seems straightforward, it is important to understand how these factors are likely to apply to your specific case.  If you have any questions or concerns about child custody or any other issue, please do not hesitate to call the phone number listed above, send an email, or use the contact form.
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