Knoxville, Tennessee, Child Custody Lawyers

As a parent experiencing a divorce, the care of your child or children is one of the most important decisions you will make. The attorneys at Parker and LaDuke will work closely with you during this process. We encourage parents to do what is best for the children. We also encourage you to focus on the importance of parenting time for both parents. The court is now required to order a custody arrangement that allows both parents “maximum participation” in the life of the children consistent with the best interest of the children.

To schedule your consultation to discuss child custody arrangements and a co-parenting calendar (parenting plan), call us at 865-888-5707. You may also contact us online, and someone from our office will be in touch with you promptly.

We offer a low $100.00 consultation fee (applied towards bill if our firm is hired) for family law matters. We accept VISA, MasterCard and Discover. Long distance telephone consultations are available with a credit card. Payment plans are available in most cases.

Custodial Parent And Non-Custodial Parent

Historically, the custodial parent refers to the parent who has primary physical custody. The non-custodial parent refers to the parent who the children do not live with, but who they see during visitation time. Physical custody is where the children actually live.

Under Tennessee law, the statute and regulations define the parent that has the children more than fifty percent (50%) of the time as the primary residential parent, and the parent who has the children less than fifty percent (50%) of the time as the alternative residential parent. The terms custodial and non-custodial are no longer used under the Tennessee law. Instead of visitation, time spent by both parents with the children is generally referred to as co-parenting time.

The document that controls the parenting arrangements is called the parenting plan. The parties can have joint co-parenting responsibilities regarding the children’s medical, educational, legal and child-rearing decisions. Our attorneys can answer any questions you have regarding the different types of co-parenting issues.

Co-parenting issues can also affect child support determinations. Our firm handles all matters involving divorce and how these issues impact your children.

Can Child Custody Arrangements Change?

Child custody and visitation (co-parenting) schedules can be modified. Requests for modifications arise when there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances. A parent may want to relocate to another part of the state, country or overseas. Or, a child may express a desire to live with a different parent upon reaching his or her teen years. Each situation is different and depends upon the facts in that case. Sometimes these issues can be resolved in mediation.

How Do I Enforce My Visitation Or Co-Parenting Rights?

What do you do if the other parent refuses to give you your Christmas or holiday visitation or other time with the children that you are entitled to under the parenting plan or court order? Refusing to follow the parenting plan or court ordered visitation is a serious offense. The parent refusing to follow the schedule can be charged with contempt of court. There are two types of contempt of court, criminal and civil. Both can subject the offender to incarceration. See contempt issues in the articles section of the website for further information about contempt. In addition, a visitation order can be enforced by suspending the offender’s driver’s or professional license. You may be able to get emergency injunctive relief from the court to prevent the other parent from interfering with your visitation in the first place. We will help you in enforcing your co-parenting rights.

Mothers’ Rights And Fathers’ Rights

Is there any legal difference between mothers’ rights and fathers’ rights in Tennessee child custody cases? Since the abolition of the ‘tender years doctrine’ the court is required to treat both parents equally and only consider the children’s best interest in determining co-parenting schedules.

Child Custody Jurisdiction Issues

What if the children have moved to a different state from the state where the original divorce was obtained, which state has jurisdiction for child custody? The answer to this depends on all of the facts in the case. For example, if either party still lives in the original divorce state, then the original state, rather than the new state where the children now reside would have continuing jurisdiction over the case according to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), Tennessee Code Annotated Section 36-6-201, et seq. However, the original divorce state court could relinquish the case to the new state court if they thought it was appropriate.

A very good discussion of this area of law is contained in the Tennessee Court of Appeals opinion in the case of Jessica Kelso vs. David Decker, 262 S.W.3d 307 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2007), a case where we successfully represented an out-of-state father in child custody jurisdiction case. This opinion can be viewed at:

Contact Our Knox County Lawyers

The attorneys at Parker and LaDuke look forward to helping with your child custody questions. Contact us to arrange a consultation.