Franklin Child Custody Attorney
In a divorce where the couple has minor children, the issue of child custody often takes precedence over all other issues in the divorce. Where the children live and how the parents share parenting responsibilities can be much more important – and difficult to resolve – than deciding how to divide the marital property or whether alimony is appropriate. Child custody decisions are supposed to be made in the children’s best interests, but parents don’t always agree on what type of custody arrangement is in the children’s best interests. In those cases, it’s up to the judge to decide, based on the arguments and evidence submitted to the court by the parties in a courtroom hearing.
The Franklin child custody attorneys at Fort, Holloway, & Rogers have extensive experience representing parents in Tennessee divorce proceedings and child custody disputes. As Rule 31 Family Mediators, our lawyers are skilled at bringing parties together and creating a permanent parenting plan that meets the needs of children and families in a practical, workable fashion. When the parents can’t agree on a plan in the children’s best interests, our experienced courtroom litigators take a strategic approach to building and presenting a strong, persuasive case to the judge. Our Franklin child custody attorneys are as aggressive as we need to be to represent your interests in even the most high-conflict or emotional disputes. Whatever the case requires, count on Fort, Holloway, & Rogers to find the path to a satisfactory resolution of custody issues that meet your needs and those of your children.
How Child Custody Decisions Are Made in Franklin Divorces
Child custody involves designating which parent will be the primary residential parent and have physical custody of the children for the majority of the time. Also, it must be decided how parenting decisions will be made regarding the children’s education, health care, religious upbringing, extracurricular activities and other issues related to a child’s well-being. Will the parents share in making these decisions, or will the responsibility lie with just one parent? Even if decision-making is shared, the primary residential parent will have the final say if the parents disagree on how to handle a situation.
The court can implement a temporary parenting plan while the divorce is pending and put a permanent parenting plan in place when the divorce is finalized. The parenting plan describes the residential schedule and parenting responsibilities in detail. If the parents can work out a parenting plan through negotiations or mediation, they can submit this plan to the court for approval. Otherwise, the judge will have to hold a hearing and let the parties litigate what the parenting plan should look like. The judge’s primary concern will be to rule on a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the children.
When deciding child custody based on the best interest of the child, Tennessee judges are required to order a custody arrangement that permits both parents to enjoy the “maximum participation possible” in the child’s life, considering the locations of the parents’ residences, the child’s need for stability, and “all relevant factors.” Specifically, the court has to consider all of the following factors as they apply to the case at hand:
- The strength, nature, and stability of the child’s relationship with each parent, including whether one parent has performed the majority of parenting responsibilities relating to the daily needs of the child
- Each parent’s or caregiver’s past and potential for future performance of parenting responsibilities, including the willingness and ability of each of the parents and caregivers to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the child’s parents, consistent with the best interest of the child
- Refusal to attend a court-ordered parent education seminar may be considered by the court as a lack of good faith effort in these proceedings
- The disposition of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, education and other necessary care
- The degree to which a parent has been the primary caregiver, defined as the parent who has taken the greater responsibility for performing parental responsibilities
- The love, affection, and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child
- The emotional needs and developmental level of the child
- The moral, physical, mental and emotional fitness of each parent as it relates to their ability to parent the child
- The child’s interaction and interrelationships with siblings, other relatives and step-relatives, and mentors, as well as the child’s involvement with the child’s physical surroundings, school, or other significant activities
- The importance of continuity in the child’s life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment
- Evidence of physical or emotional abuse to the child, the other parent or any other person. The court shall, where appropriate, refer any issues of abuse to juvenile court for further proceedings
- The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent and such person’s interactions with the child
- The reasonable preference of the child if twelve (12) years of age or older. The court may hear the preference of a younger child upon request. The preference of older children should normally be given greater weight than those of younger children
- Each parent’s employment schedule, and the court may make accommodations consistent with those schedules
- Any other factors deemed relevant by the court
How Our Franklin Child Custody Attorneys Can Help in a Custody Dispute
Fort, Holloway, & Rogers plays an essential role in the child custody process by gathering up the evidence related to the factors listed above and presenting it in a way that makes it easy for the judge to understand what parenting arrangement would be in the best interest of the children in the particular case. As experienced courtroom litigators, we understand how to build a strong case based on expert testimony and other relevant evidence and compellingly argue the case. We take a strategic approach tailored to the facts and needs of the individual case. Whether your parenting plan can be created mutually at the conference table or requires aggressive advocacy in court to resolve, our firm has the right legal team to deal personally with your case and help you reach your goals.
Call Our Franklin Child Custody Lawyers Today
For help with child custody in a Franklin divorce or other family law custody matter in Williamson County, call Fort, Holloway, & Rogers at 615-791-7575 for an honest assessment of your case and a strategic approach to a custody arrangement that meets the best interests of you and your children.