Types of Child Custody in Tennessee

Posted by Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC on August 11, 2022

As a parent, you always want to be able to provide what’s best for your child and maintain a healthy, loving relationship with them. However, separating from your spouse can have you feeling worried about what will happen to them and how you can stay involved in their life. In Tennessee, there are several types of child custody that the court can award, and which type you receive will dictate the rights and responsibilities you have regarding your child.

At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, we understand how important relationships are between children and their parents, and this doesn’t end because of a divorce. We can help you with everything you need while seeking custody of your child.

Types of Child Custody

In Tennessee, parents can be awarded physical and legal custody. Physical and legal custody grant parents different rights and responsibilities in their children’s lives.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to the parent the child will live with. Not only does physical custody include spending face-to-face time with the child, but also providing for their daily needs.

Legal Custody

Legal custody gives a parent the right to make important decisions for their child and have control over the way they’re raised. This can include making decisions on the following and more:

  • Where the child will go to school
  • The medical care the child should receive
  • What religion the child will be raised in

Amount of Child Custody

In addition to awarding physical and legal custody of a child, the court will also determine the amount of custody parents are awarded. Parents can share custody of their child or custody may be given solely to one parent.

Sole Custody

When a parent is granted sole custody of their child, they are wholly responsible for making decisions for their children. Ideally, both parents are able to stay involved in their children’s lives and can co-parent the children. It’s often in the best interest of a child to spend time with both parents, but this is not always an option if there are concerns over the child’s physical or emotional health. The other parent may still be granted visitation rights, and, in some cases, these visitations may be supervised.

Joint Custody

Parents can have joint legal and physical custody. When parents share legal custody of their child, they both get a say in decision-making and how they want their child to be raised. Even if a child doesn’t primarily live with one parent, this parent can still be awarded joint custody and be included in important aspects of their child’s upbringing.

Of course, having joint legal custody may be easier than joint physical custody in some cases. Parents having joint custody of their child doesn’t mean that they have to share custody equally. For example, it may be too difficult depending on each family member’s schedule and location for parents to each have an equal number of days with their child. While parents may be awarded joint physical custody, one parent may be the primary residential parent if the child spends more than 50% of the year with them.

Have a Child Custody Lawyer on Your Side

Seeking child custody is a difficult situation that many families go through. To ensure that you’re doing everything you can to protect your child’s best interest, you need an experienced child custody attorney. At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, we can help you through this process and answer your questions along the way.

Contact us today to learn more about how our child custody attorneys can help.

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