Knoxville Child Custody Attorney
Every parent wants a close and meaningful relationship with his or her children, and in every divorce or custody dispute, both the parents and the judge want a solution that is in the best interests of the kids. While it’s often possible for parents to agree on a fair, reasonable and workable arrangement for custody and visitation, this isn’t always the case. Knoxville child custody attorney Patrick L. Looper works closely with parents to create parenting plans and visitation schedules that meet everybody’s needs. If agreement can’t be reached outside of court, you will find Patrick L. Looper to be a staunch defender of your interests and a strong voice for you in the courtroom, making sure your needs and those of your children are well-represented in the final outcome of any Knoxville divorce or child custody dispute.
Types of Child Custody in Tennessee Family Law
The preference in the state of Tennessee is for parents to share as equally as possible in the time spent raising the children. However, the best interest of the child is always the number one concern, and custody decisions may favor one parent over the other when deemed in the children’s best interest. Courts may grant custody of the children to both parents jointly or solely to one parent. Often the non-custodial parent is granted visitation, but even this may be restricted or prohibited in the best interest of the child, such as in the case of domestic violence or child abuse.
Courts will decide both the actual physical custody of the child as well as legal custody – in other words, the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing in areas such as religions, schooling and medical care. In Tennessee, courts may award sole or joint legal custody and sole or joint physical custody. Even where parents share custody, the arrangement does not have to be split evenly between the parents. Often, one parent will have custody more than 50% of the time and will be deemed the primary residential parent, while the other parent is referred to as the alternate residential parent under Tennessee law.
How Tennessee Courts Decide on Child Custody
When making a custody decision, the guiding principles for the court are to make a decision in the children’s best interest and to fashion a plan that maximizes the participation of both parents in their children’s lives to the extent consistent with the children’s best interest. Tennessee law sets out 15 different factors to guide the court in determining child custody. Some of these factors are:
- Each parent’s relationship with the child
- Each parent’s record and potential of performing parenting duties, including the willingness and ability to encourage a close relationship between the child and the other parent
- The emotional needs and developmental level of the child
- The child’s reasonable request if the child is 12 years old
- The importance of stability in the child’s home life and school life
- The child’s ability to adjust to a new home, school or community
- Each parent’s employment schedule
- Any history of domestic violence, including spousal abuse or child abuse
Courts get this information from the spouses through their attorneys. Knoxville divorce lawyer Patrick L. Looper knows how to build a strong case with evidence supporting your role in the custody of your children. His years of experience in court mean he will deliver that evidence in a compelling, persuasive manner that puts your case in the best light before the judge.
Get the Help You Need in Knoxville Divorce & Child Custody Proceedings
For help with child custody in a Knoxville divorce, child custody dispute, paternity proceeding or post-divorce custody modification, call Patrick L. Looper, Attorney at Law, at 865-229-3164. Our Knoxville child custody attorney will work collaboratively for reasonable and effective parenting plans and visitation schedules, and will fight for a result that meets your and your children’s needs.