Change Child Custody in Tennessee
Modification of Child Custody and Shared Parenting Plans
There are a variety of issues that arise in the lives of divorced families with children, and in families of single parents living separately sharing the custody of one or more children. Obviously raising a child is a trying task even for married parents. Shared parenting or joint custody arrangements tend to be even more difficult to parent a child through. However, most divorce, separated or single parents can successfully maneuver the ups and downs of shared parenting. There are times when problems arise that seem insurmountable and which may need to addressed in a court action or mediation. When you believe such an issue involving child custody has arisen, it is best to seek the advice of a family law attorney before proceeding with any action to change child custody. With the wise counsel of a divorce lawyer you will be able to make the proper decision of how to proceed to modify or change child custody.
What leads a parent to seek a change in custody?
Tennessee law and the courts allow for modification of child custody decrees under very limited circumstances. The threshold or initial issue must involve a material change in circumstances which negatively impacts the child (children). In recent years the courts also recognize the changing needs of the child in considering a change of custody arrangements. Often times a parent seeks a change or modification of child custody when a situation arises that is in that parent’s opinion intolerable. Some of the issues that bring a parent to a family law attorney about changing custody are a new live-in boyfriend or girlfriend of the other parent, drug or alcohol use by the other parent, consistent problems with bringing the children back late, or not allowing the children to spend time with the other parent. Child abuse (physical, emotional or sexual abuse) is a serious problem which needs to be reported to the appropriate authorities, and carefully reviewed by a divorce lawyer.
Sometimes the custodial issues are a little less dramatic, but involve serious problems, like education problems with the child – where the primary parent is failing to properly meet the parental obligations of the child’s education, or perhaps the “non-custodial” or alternate residential parent (often times the father) is failing to ensure the children does his/her homework while with him. Parents even believe that custody of the child should be modified because of a disagreement over something relatively minor like involvement in sporting activity, discipline issues (non-abusive) or other seemingly minor issues. These are by no means issues that should necessarily ignored, but may be able to resolved without a modification of custody. Be sure to speak openly with your child custody attorney about these type of issues so that the lawyer may properly advise you and help you take the right course of action. Obviously, if the parents are unable to resolve their conflicts over custody of the child or parenting decisions then legal action will probably be necessary – make this decision after receiving legal advice from a lawyer.
Options for Changing Custody in Tennessee
You have now reached the decision that you need to speak to a lawyer about changing custody, but what are the options that lie ahead. There are two basic options for changing child custody return to court on a petition to modify custody or mediation. Keep in mind that most Permanent Parenting Plans in Tennessee contain a requirement that the parents attend mediation in order to attempt to resolve their differences involving custody of the child or parenting decisions before going to court. Mediation, however, is not always the appropriate step to take in child custody modifications. Certainly issues like child abuse, or drug/alcohol abuse are not issues that can be effectively resolved in mediation. Before making this decision, consult with a family law lawyer and allow the lawyer to guide you in such a situation.
Mediation or Court to Resolve Child Custody Issues?
These are times when the court will need to become involved before the parents attend mediation attempt a child custody resolution. Certainly emergency type custody issues usually go to the court immediately for issuance of a temporary restraining order or other emergency measures – if appropriate. These type of custody situations need to be handled by a divorce attorney. Sometimes parents with disputes over custody or parenting of their child are able to attend mediation, successfully resolve the issues and move on without the intervention of the courts. However, if the custody or parenting conflict involves anything that requires a change in the Permanent Parenting Plan or other child custody orders, after successful mediation an agreed custody order needs to be submitted to the court for approval by the judge. Have an attorney draft this child custody order for you. The lawyer fees for agreed custody orders are typically relatively low, and well worth the cost. Obviously, if the parents cannot resolve their dispute over custody of the child or parenting issues through mediation then the court will be the only remaining option. Consult with a lawyer in family law practice before proceeding to resolve a child custody or parenting issue.
To Get Legal Advice about Child Custody Issues
This article is not intended as legal advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. If you have a child custody or parenting issue and need to know your legal rights and options consult with an attorney who is experienced in family law and child custody issues. Legal advice can only be given by an attorney at law, and usually will only be given after consultation.
Purple Law Firm family law attorneys in Chattanooga serve clients with child custody or divorce issues in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Cleveland, Bradley County, Dayton, Rhea County, and surrounding Tennessee areas. Our Chattanooga lawyers are licensed to practice law in Tennessee.
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Suggested article – Attorney Profile of Jim Purple, Chattanooga Family Law Attorney