How is child custody determined in Tennessee?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2024 | Child Custody & Visitation |

If you and your spouse are getting a divorced, you may have made the process easier by signing a prenup ahead of time. This prenup may address how you plan to divide up your high-value assets and whether one of you will pay the other alimony. However, if you have children, you should know that child custody and support are not part of your prenup and will still have to be addressed during the divorce process.

Parents who can agree on custody will work together to draft a parenting plan that will include details about the family’s custodial arrangement. You will have to agree on physical custody, or where the child will live, as well as legal custody, or who can make decisions regarding the child’s welfare.

While some parents can agree on custody issues, other parents may find themselves arguing over who gets to make decisions for the child and how much time each of them gets with the child. In such cases, the courts will determine the child custody arrangement based on the “best interests of the child.” This essentially means that the courts will prioritize the child’s physical, emotional, and financial needs over any other issues that may arise in the divorce.

Tennessee courts may use any factor it deems relevant when making a child custody determination. Under Tenn. Code. Ann. Sec. 36-6-106 to determine the best interests of the child, including the following:

  • Nature of the relationship between the child and each parent.
  • Each parent’s daily responsibilities relating to the child during the marriage.
  • Ability and willingness of each parent to provide the child with the care they require.
  • The physical and mental fitness of each parent.
  • Each parent’s employment schedule and financial stability.
  • The child’s relationships with other family members and other mentors.
  • The child’s environment and community involvement (school, activities, etc.).

Child custody is just one issue of many in complex, high-asset divorces. No matter what your personal feelings are about your ex, it is important to always focus on making sure that your child’s needs are met.