Child Custody Attorneys Helping You with Challenging Custody Cases In Crossville
When it comes to a divorce or separation, the question of who retains custody of any children is likely to be one of the biggest concerns you have. The very nature of the discussion means that it is easy for tempers to rise and emotions to run wild; employing an experienced child custody attorney is crucial for helping you to secure the best outcome for your child.
Here at Davis Law Firm, we have been helping clients throughout the Crossville region to reach resolutions in child custody cases for several years, and we have the skills you need to make sure that an amenable, safe solution is reached which places the needs and welfare of your child at the forefront.
What Happens If We Go To Court?
If a mutual agreement cannot be found by the parents, the case will need to appear before a court. The first priority of the judge will be to prioritize the wellbeing, health, and happiness of the child. As a result, arrangements may change and evolve depending on the age, needs, and development of the child. Wherever possible, the judge will endeavor to ensure that children are able to spend quality, valuable, and regular time with both parents across the course of the year.
Depending on the nature of the case, the judge has three options:
- Residential Schedule: This locks down the primary residence of the child and puts a regular schedule in place, which determines how the child’s time with each parent will be broken down on an ongoing basis.
- Holiday Schedules: Holiday schedules are super specific, and they can be used to determine the allocation of special occasions, birthdays, and holidays, including Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Christmas, and long weekends. Such events will generally be rotated each year, or else spent with the most appropriate parent depending on the situation (e.g. father on Father’s Day). Long holidays may also be split between parents on a rotational basis.
- Vacation Schedules: Vacation schedules help to determine where a child will live during extended breaks from school, for example during long winter and summer vacations. Any vacations already scheduled and due to be taken with either parent can also be included here.
How Is Custody Decided?
In an ideal world, parents would be able to split custody equally with no fighting, disagreements, or court action required. In real life, however, things are never quite that simple. Couples may be hurt from the divorce proceedings, the split could be acrimonious, or there may domestic or child abuse issues involved. In this case, a third party – the legal system – will decide on the best course of action,
There are two types of child custody recognized under Tennessee law: legal and physical.
- Legal Custody: This refers to the parent given the power to make crucial decisions regarding the child or children, including those surrounding welfare, health, and education.
- Physical Custody: This refers to the place where the child lives; their physical residence.
These custody types will each come under either joint or sole cases. Where joint custody is awarded, parents share both physical and legal responsibilities. A parent with sole custody, however, will have the sole freedom to make all legal decisions for their child, as well as providing them with a physical place to live.
Will I Need To Pay Child Support?
Where shared custody is granted, both parents will be in a position to claim child support, and a decision will be made based on their specific circumstances. For example, high earners will be ordered to pay a lower-earning parent a set certain amount in child support; this is to ensure that the financial resources available to the child are equal in both households. Any voluntary declaration and acknowledgment of paternity will be considered adequate grounds to expect support to be provided.
Child support is considered a separate issue to visitation, and a failure to pay child support is not adequate grounds for denying the other parent visitation rights. This is an independent issue, and a petition should be filed for contempt of court regarding the party who is not paying; this parent could face a prison term of up to six months if they repeatedly fail to comply and meet their financial commitments.
Does My Child Get A Say?
Some children may appear to have a very clear preference when it comes to picking a parent to live with. The court, however, is legally required to act in the best interests of the child, and so while children over the age of twelve are permitted to express a preference, this is all that it is – a preference. There are a number of factors that will go into the judge’s final decision, and the opinion or preference of the child is only a small part of this.
What Are My Next Steps?
If you find yourself in the middle of a custody case, the most useful step you can take is to arm yourself with experienced legal advice. Here at Davis Law Firm, we have been helping clients take on child custody battles for years and have the skills and knowledge you need to ensure that you receive the best outcome for your child and family. Reach out to our family law attorneys today for help: (865) 354-3333.