If you are divorcing and share children, settling custody will be at the top of the agenda. You might have heard of a standard called the child’s best interest that courts use when making custody decisions.
What is it, and how can you work to meet it?
Tennessee law states that a court should come to a custody arrangement that allows both parents to participate in their child’s life as much as possible. So you need to understand that they will not give you all the custody and your spouse none unless there are compelling safety reasons. Once both parents realize this, it can be easier to tone things down and seek a compromise rather than a “win” at any cost.
Courts will look at a wide range of factors including:
Where each parent will live
Most courts would prefer that parents stay relatively close to each other after divorce as it makes it easier for them to maintain contact with the child. You will need compelling reasons to take the child to live far away.
The child’s relationship with each parent
If you only ever saw your child on the weekends because they were always asleep when you got home from work, it could weaken your claim to have the child live with you: A court may feel they are more used to living with your spouse.
If, however, they always fought with your spouse but had a much better relationship with you, that could work in your favor.
It’s not so much your title as your schedule and income. Earning a million a year might show you can afford to provide for your child, but if you have to work 80-hour weeks to earn that, then a court may query your availability to care for your child.
Those are just some of the things to understand when negotiating child custody. Seek legal help to discover more.