Child custody laws are very similar among different U.S. states, particularly since nearly every state has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The Act grants jurisdiction over child custody matters to the child's home state, which helps eliminate the confusion that otherwise may result from children being taken across state lines. Essentially, the UCCJEA requires states to honor child custody orders from other states in an effort to eliminate child abductions by noncustodial parents.
Tennessee child custody laws allow for joint custody and grandparents' visitation rights, while emphasizing the child's own wishes when considering custody decisions. In fact, Tennessee courts are required to state, in writing, why its legal and why the physical custody decision is in the child's best interests.
The basics of Tennessee's child custody laws are listed below. To learn more, see FindLaw's extensive Child Custody section.
|Code Section||36-6-101, 102|
|Year Uniform Child Custody Act Adopted||1979|
|Joint Custody an Option?||Yes, §36-6-101(a)|
|Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized?||Yes, §36-6-306|
|Child's Own Wishes Considered?||Yes|
Note: State laws are constantly changing. While FindLaw works hard to ensure state law pages are up-to-date, it is sometimes a good idea to also contact a Tennessee child custody attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
How Are Child Custody Decisions Made in Tennessee?
Unless there's an agreement between the child's parents, Tennessee family courts have the authority to award the "care, custody, and control" of children to either or both of the parents. The sole consideration in such a decision, however, is the best interests of the child. If the court determines that a parent willfully abandoned his or her child for at least 18 months, then that parent's involvement with the child (such as visitation) will be limited.
What are the Rights of Noncustodial Parents?
In general -- and as long as the best interests of the child are considered -- noncustodial parents in Tennessee have the following rights with respect to their child:
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Tennessee Child Custody Laws: Related Resources
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Child custody proceedings are usually quite emotional and difficult for parents, but require legal know-how and an understanding of how to negotiate with opposing counsel. If you are involved in a custody case in Tennessee, you may benefit from a free legal evaluation of your case.
Contact a qualified attorney.