If you are a Seymour parent who is contemplating divorce, you need to thoroughly understand the types of custody you might pursue for your children. In Tennessee, as elsewhere, all custody is not created equal, and it's always wise to know where you stand.
Before proceeding, it's a good idea to honestly reflect on how much of the parenting duties you will be able to shoulder. Are you a nurse working swing shifts or a corporate executive who travels extensively for the job? If so, it may not be possible to manage the physical custody of your kids — particularly those who are very young.
Below are different types of custody that you might choose to seek.
Physical custody can be shared or granted solely to one parent by the court. Alternatively, the parents may come to their own agreement regarding the children's custody. That agreement will then be entered into the court record and ordered by a Tennessee family law judge.
Joint physical custody is usually most appropriate when parents live in close proximity to one another so that the custody exchanges aren't difficult and the kids can remain in the same schools and on the same teams if they are involved in sports.
Sole physical custody
Sole physical custody means that the kids live full-time with one parent. Their other parent might enjoy liberal or restrictive visitation rights depending upon the circumstances.
Legal custody refers to a parent having legal authority over decisions that effect a child's upbringing, education and health. The goal of the family law court typically is to grant joint legal custody of the kids to their parents. Then, both parents have input into the children's spiritual upbringing (or lack thereof), the schools they will attend and the medical care they shall get.
In cases of joint custody where one parent attempts an end-run around the other regarding a decision, e.g., baptizing the child of a Jewish mother in the Christian faith or abruptly switching the kids to expensive private schools, the parent whose wishes were ignored can petition the court to enforce the joint custody orders.
Your Tennessee family law attorney can provide advice and guidance to you about your rights and responsibilities regarding the custody of your children.