Children can often end up as casualties when their parents’ divorce becomes a battlefield. As they sometime try to use the child to get back at the other party (even if they don’t realize they’re doing it), divorcing couples can lose sight of what is best for their child.
In almost every state, the best interest of the child is the principle which guides the court’s decision. In Tennessee, the courts strive to assure (when circumstances are appropriate) that both parents have equal parenting time with the child, and that both parents would be afforded the chance to maintain a strong, nurturing bond with their child.
Parents can decide what is the best custody arrangement for their child
When parents decide that it is time to end their marriage and break up their family, they can sit down and work out a reasonable custody arrangement between them. They know their child, they are familiar with what their child needs, and they know that what matters most is that their divorce does not have to negatively impact their child’s life.
Working together, parents can develop a parenting plan agreement, which contains all the details of where the child will spend most of his or her nights, the visitation schedule and every other detail about the child’s educational, recreational, social, and religious life. It will also contain details about the child’s health and medical needs.
What happens when parents are unable to come to an agreement about child custody?
If the parents are unable to come to an agreement on their own about child custody, the court will decide for them. The court may require the parents to try mediation before litigation. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process where a neutral third-party mediator meets with the parties who are having a dispute and guides them towards resolving their differences on their own.
Unlike the judge in family court, the mediator does not impose their views and opinions about the issues in question. Rather, the mediator facilitates negotiations between the parties and guides them towards compromise where it would be effective and assists the parties in reaching an agreement that would best serve their child.
Mediation can be faster than litigation, it is almost always far less expensive that waging a custody battle in court, and it has a rewarding side-effect of equipping the parties with communication skills and the ability to cooperate to achieve their goals.
In Tennessee child custody cases, what matters most is that the child’s interests are protected and that both parents can find a way to set their differences aside and focus on being effective, nurturing co-parents.
At LaFevor & Slaughter, we are familiar with the difficulties of making decisions about child custody. We concentrate on guiding clients towards a path to divorce that focuses on the wellbeing of the child. To consult with a Knoxville child custody attorney, we invite you to call 865-272-4454. You can also schedule an appointment by completing our contact form now.