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Child Custody & Visitation Lawyers in Nashville, TN

Child custody and visitation are among family law's most sensitive and complex components due to their profound implications for parents and children. Child custody pertains to the legal and practical relationship between a parent and child, including the right to make decisions for the child, the duty to care for them, and handling their living arrangements. 

Because of how vital these issues are to parents facing divorce, in post-divorce custody disputes, or paternity cases, skilled legal guidance and representation are essential. Our family law team at Flexer Law brings empathy, objectivity, and precision legal knowledge to your case. We have guided thousands of individuals through complex custody cases to achieve optimum outcomes that protect parental rights while prioritizing the child’s best interests.

Overview of Custody Arrangements in Tennessee

Custody is divided into two types in Tennessee:  legal and physical as follows:

  • Sole legal custody: One parent has the exclusive right to make significant decisions about the child's life, such as education, religious upbringing, and medical care.
  • Joint legal custody: Both parents are responsible for making significant decisions for the child. This arrangement requires effective communication and a collaborative approach between parents.
  • Sole physical custody: The child lives primarily with one parent, while the other may have visitation rights. This setup is often chosen when one parent is deemed more fit for the child’s daily care or where the proximity of parental households demands it.
  • Joint physical custody: The child's time is divided between parents' homes. This can be an equal split or a different distribution that serves the child's best interests.
  • Primary residential parent: Within joint custody, one parent is designated as the primary residential parent, where the child spends more time, even if physical custody is shared.
  • Alternative residential parent: When joint custody is determined, the alternative residential parent is the one with whom the child spends less time compared to the primary residential parent.

Connect with us via our online case evaluation form or call (615) 805-6374 to book a confidential consultation with a Nashville child custody and visitation attorney. 

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Is Tennessee a 50-50 Custody State?

Tennessee does not automatically default to a 50-50 custody arrangement. While the state encourages substantial and frequent contact with both parents, custody is determined based on the child's best interests. Parents can share equal parenting time, but this is not a given and must be agreed upon by both parties or ordered by the court.

Understanding Parenting Plans

In Tennessee, a Parenting Plan is a comprehensive document that outlines the custody arrangement and is required in all child custody cases. 

Critical components of a Parenting Plan include:

  • Residential schedule: Specific details of when the child will reside with each parent.
  • Holiday and vacation arrangements: How holidays, school breaks, and vacations are divided.
  • Decision-making authority: How decisions regarding the child's welfare, education, and health are made and by whom.
  • Transportation and exchange of the child: The logistics of how and when the child will be transported between parents.

Parents can create their own Parenting Plan and present it to the court for approval. Courts will generally approve if the Plan adheres to the court policy of being in the child’s best interests. The more detailed and comprehensive the Plan is, the less chance there will be for disagreements and disputes between parents. Furthermore, parents should include policies and procedures for resolving disagreements between them to help avoid conflicts that could lead to litigation. 

The process of determining child custody and creating an appropriate Parenting Plan can be emotionally taxing and complex, mainly because the stakes are incredibly high. Parents are inherently protective of their children, and the fear of losing parenting time or influence over critical decisions can lead to heated disputes. Additionally, each family dynamic is unique, necessitating an individualized approach to custody and visitation matters.

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