Few matters have the potential to be more stressful than a child custody dispute. After all, your son or daughter is likely the most important person in your life. As such, you likely do not want to give up either legal or physical custody of the young one in your family.
In Tennessee, judges must consider the child’s interests when making custody determinations. That is, even though the judge has broad discretion to draft custody orders, he or she should do what is most favorable for your child. If you expect to go through a custody battle, you must understand the best interests of the child standard.
Involving both parents
Family law judges in the Volunteer State recognize that children are usually better off when both parents play an active role. This is only true if involving both parents is in the child’s leading interests. Accordingly, you are likely entering your custody dispute with a level playing field. That may change if certain evidence comes to light, however.
Applying a set of factors
Judges do not like to make arbitrary determinations. On the contrary, they want both the law and the facts to support their orders. When weighing custody matters, judges decide what benefits the child most by carefully considering 15 specific factors. In broad terms, these factors focus on each parent’s ability to provide a healthy environment for the child.
Improving your case
If you are afraid that you may lose custody of your son or daughter, you likely want to do what you can to improve your case. Complying with court orders, meeting your child’s needs and avoiding bad behaviors are all usually effective strategies. Similarly, you want to be sure that you remain involved with your child’s upbringing.
The thought of losing either legal or physical custody of your son or daughter may be enough to make you shudder. Fortunately, you do not have to navigate the custody process blindly. By understanding Tennessee’s best interests of the child standard, you can better advocate for your parental rights.