Child custody can often be a contentious process. The court’s main objective is to ensure the children end up in a situation that is in their best interests.
Because of this, every part of the process of determining custody can impact the final outcome. The judge will watch both parents carefully for actions during a custody trial. The law also outlines some specific steps that help to determine the best case scenario for the children.
The Knoxville Bar Association explains courts may issue orders as part of the overall child custody decision to ensure the children remain in the best situation. For example, the judge could tell the residential parent, the parent with which the children live most of the time, that he or she cannot move out of the state or further than a set number of miles without seeking court approval. This type of order ensures one parent cannot move away and make it harder for the other parent to see the kids.
The state also requires that when entering into a custody trial the parents work together to create a parenting plan. This plan will outline everything from where the children live to who gets them on vacations or holidays. It will cover decision-making and may touch on support issues. In general, the court will expect both parents to participate and work together on this plan. Usually, the only time the court allows for parents to work independently is if there is a history of abuse or violence between them.
Both parents also must attend a parenting class. While some people may see this as just a requirement they must get through, parents and children will benefit the most if they are engaged with the course. There are some great points to learn through it, and being focused will only benefit your kids.
The basic idea behind Tennessee custody laws and processes is to ensure the kids have the least amount of disruption in their lives and end up in a place where they get the most love and care from both parents.