Few things in life have the potential to be more stressful than a child custody dispute. After all, if you do not end up with the custody arrangement you want, you may not see your kids nearly as often as you would like. Even worse, your children may have to live with a different parent than they prefer.
Fortunately, judges in Tennessee cannot make child-related decisions on a whim. In fact, according to the Administration for Children and Families, they have a legal duty to determine what is in the best interests of your children. How does a judge know what this best for your kids, though?
There are factors to consider
Even though family law matters can be emotional and messy, the law tends to prefer facts and certainty. To minimize the chances a judge may make some mistake, Tennessee law gives the court some factors to consider when evaluating what is in the best interests of any child.
Among others, these factors include the following:
- The relationship you have with your children
- The effort you put into parenting your kids
- Your ability to parent effectively
- The special needs of your children
- Any history of abuse, mistreatment or criminal activity
Your kids may have a say
As you may suspect, it can be reckless to ask children about the custody arrangement they want, as kids can be irrational and immature. Still, if your children are 12 or older, a judge may be curious about their viewpoints. For younger children, the court may use a social worker or another professional to gauge their opinions.
Ultimately, to improve your chances of receiving the custody arrangement you want, it is advisable to focus on being an effective parent for the young ones in your family.