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 always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an 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:
Research the Law
Tennessee Child Custody Laws: Related Resources
Get Professional Legal Help With Your Tennessee Custody Case
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. Don't leave such an important decision up to chance. If you are involved in a custody case in Tennessee, reach out to an experienced child custody lawyer near you.
Contact a qualified attorney.