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Child Custody in Tennessee

Familiarize Yourself with Child Custody Laws in Tennessee


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A family court in Tennessee uses several factors to determine child custody laws. Primarily, the court determines child custody in Tennessee based on the best interests of the child. In Tennessee, parents who wish to file for custody should first become familiar with the child custody statutes in Tennessee.

Related: Help our readers by sharing your experience with child custody in Tennessee.

Best Interests of the Child

When determining child custody in Tennessee, the court will consider the following factors:

  • The love and affection and overall relationship between the child and the child's parents or caregivers
  • The mental and physical health of the parents or caregivers
  • The child's preference, if the child is of a sufficient age and maturity level to make a reasonable choice (generally age 12 or the older)
  • The parent or caregiver's ability to provide food, clothing, a proper education, and medical care for the child
  • The child's home, school, and community record
  • Any history of physical or emotional abuse
  • Each parent's willingness to foster and encourage a relationship between the child and the child's other parent
  • Whether a custodial parent has been found guilty of the intentional death of the child's other parent or legal guardian

Relocation and Child Custody in Tennessee

If a parent intends to relocate out of the state or 100 miles from his/her current home, the relocating parent must serve a notice to the child's other parent 60 days prior to the move. The notice should include:

  • A statement of the intent to move
  • The address of new location
  • Reasons for the relocation
  • A statement that the child's other parent may oppose the move within 30 days

The court will consider several factors when determining whether to allow the move, including:

  • The importance of continuity in the child's life, considering the stability of the child's current home, school, and community
  • Whether the custodial parent will comply with a new custody and visitation schedule
  • The child's preference, if the child is of an age and maturity level to make an informed decision (generally age 12 or older)

Custody Modification and Military Service Members

If a service member who is also a custodial parent is called to active duty in Tennessee, the court will temporarily modify the child custody order. However, upon completion of duty, custody will revert back to the original order.

For more information about child custody in Tennessee, speak with a qualified attorney in Tennessee or refer to the Tennessee Domestic Relations Code.

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