If you and your Tennessee spouse are considering divorce, one of the most vital concerns is who will get custody of your young children. Whether you or your spouse will retain physical custody or whether you have joint custody depends on several factors that the courts use.
Using the best interest standards
Many parents find the best interests standard confusing, as they feel all parents want what is in their children’s best interests. Despite what you may think, divorce court judges usually determine what is in children’s best interests involving child custody. Demonstrating to a judge that you have your children’s best interests in mind involves showing how involved you are in their lives by taking care of their education and being involved in extracurricular activities, sports, and the like.
However, judges consider other crucial factors before rendering a child custody decision. Convictions involving domestic violence, abuse or neglect can seriously affect one’s chances of gaining custody. Other factors considered include:
• Ability to provide for physical and emotional needs and medical care
• How the arrangement will affect the children
• Ability to provide a stable, loving environment
• The children’s wishes
• The children’s attachment to their school and environment
• Physical health of each parent
• The relationship between each parent and the children
The judge will also examine your and your spouse’s willingness to continue a relationship with each other to benefit your children.
Co-parenting is a reasonable agreement
When first starting the divorce process, many couples don’t believe that they will ever be able to work with each other to raise their children effectively. However, once the dust has begun to settle and you take a step back from your emotions, you can realize that you can co-parent your children better than in the past.
Working together to arrive at a child custody agreement will benefit everyone involved, not just the children. If you have tweens or teens, ask them to share their opinions on living arrangements, spending time with each parent and other issues directly affecting them. By doing so, you will maintain a much more civil and satisfying relationship.