When most people in Tennessee hear the phrase "child custody fight," they assume that the dispute is limited to the child's parents, but some custody disputes may involve other parties, including grandparents, the state of Tennessee and one or both natural parents. A year-long child custody fight involving all of these parties and others tragically ended on New Year's Eve when the subject of the dispute, a one-year-old girl, died in her sleep.
As most divorcing couples in Tennessee realize, the entry of the divorce decree by the court does not always end disputes about child custody or the payment of alimony and support. A common cause of such disputes is the decision by one or both spouses to relocate to another state. In 1999, the Tennessee legislature enacted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act to aid former spouses in enforcing or modifying the terms of a child custody decree after the former spouse has moved out of the state.
Disputes concerning child custody between divorcing spouses are common features of divorces in Tennessee. A less-noticed type of custody dispute is the desire of biological grandparents to obtain and enforce a legal right to visit a child after the divorce becomes final.
The custody of minor children can be one of the most painful and contentious issues in many Tennessee divorces. The argument usually focuses on which parent will have physical custody of the kids. But even a parent who loses a custody fight - the "non-custodial parent" - has certain rights under Tennessee divorce law.
Resolving issues of child custody can be one of the most vexing issues in a divorce. The Tennessee legislature has attempted to alleviate parents' concerns in this area by requiring either the divorcing couple or the court to devise temporary and permanent parenting plans. Both kinds of plans are intended to eliminate or sharply reduce battles over child custody.
The first concern of most parents in Tennessee when they and their spouse have decided to end their marriage is custody of the children. As we noted in a prior post, Tennessee courts want the parents to reach an agreement about child custody and child support -- as well as all other issues in the divorce. If couples cannot reach an agreement about child custody, or if such an agreement is deemed unreasonable or unenforceable for any reason, the courts will intervene.
Child custody issues can become a huge problem during a divorce proceeding, largely because of the emotional ties that every parent has toward the children. Most parents feel that they would go to any length to be with their children.
Tennessee parents often prefer to go for a settlement out of court or alternative dispute resolution approach like arbitration, mediation or even collaborative law in order to determine child custody instead of going through a long, drawn-out, bitter court hearing. All of the conditions and agreements that are reached between the parties involved and their attorneys are then enumerated in a child custody agreement, which is often referred to as a parenting agreement.
Gaining child custody over one's minor children can be an emotionally grueling task. In many cases, the non-custodial parent is often resentful of the custodial parent. Non-custodial parents who violate a child custody order can be liable for not only civil lawsuits but also for criminal charges under Tennessee law.
Child custody can often be a controversial issue in a divorce or separation legal proceeding between Tennessee parents. The courts usually award child custody to one parent on the basis of the best interests of the child. Thus, violating such child custody orders can attract several serious penalties under the law.