How Is Custody Generally Determined In Tennessee When Parents Are Divorcing?
Custody is determined in two different ways: Either both parties reach an agreement, or a judge decides. If it goes in front of a judge, there’s a list of 15 factors that the judge is supposed to consider and the 15th factor is anything else that’s relevant. This means there are 14 factors that the judge has to consider and the judge can take into account any other factor that the judges think is relevant. Some of the factors include who is the primary caregiver for the child, or if a parent facilitates a relationship between the child and the other parent. A parent does have a duty to make sure the child has a good relationship with the other parent. If a parent fails to do that, the court will consider that in a custody decision. Another of the 15 custody factors is the wishes of a child 12 years of age or older, with greater weight given to the wishes of an older child. The court MAY (not must) hear the wishes of a younger child, but that is generally not given a great deal of weight by the court.
The court operates under several mandates. Specifically, the legislature has said that the courts are supposed to “maximize” the amount of time a child spends with each parent, given the facts and circumstances of the parties’ situation. The circumstances of each situation are determined by the 15 factors. If the child is under 18, they do not get to pick which parent they live with. The wishes of an older child will be one of the factors that the court considers. The court considers the wishes of older teenagers more than younger teenagers but children. So, if one parent is entirely an unsuitable parent but the child wants to live with that parent, the court may deny that request.
When Is Child Support Awarded During The Divorce Process? How Is That Amount Determined?
The statute says that any parent, divorced or single knows that they have a responsibility to support their child. A parent is legally liable to support their child all the time if the parent is 18 years or older. It does not require a court order. That duty to support exists regardless of whether you’re in any sort of litigation. If you are in litigation in a custody situation for unmarried parents or parents in the divorce process, child support must be defined. You cannot have a custody case without addressing child support. The child support amount may be zero, but it must be addressed and defined if there’s litigation concerning children. The amount is determined by a standard worksheet that’s published by the state of Tennessee.
The child support worksheet determines the amount of child support based on factors that you enter into the worksheet. It starts with the gross income of both parents. The worksheet assumes that the child is entitled to a lifestyle based on the combined incomes of both parents and each parent will be responsible for a certain amount of that support. The factors that go into the algorithm that determines what the amount is going to include the number of days that the child will be spending with each parent, each parent’s monthly gross income, how much a parent pays for the health insurance and work-related child care expenses.
Other factors considered are if the child receives a federal benefit or if the parent has other children for whom they are legally liable for support. All those numbers are plugged into the spreadsheet and it determines a number that will be the child support amount. You can apply to the court for a deviation from child support if appropriate. The most common deviation is if one parent lives far away and they have to absorb travel expenses to spend parenting time with their child, the court will allow a deviation from the monthly child support to cover those travel expenses.
What Should I Look For When Researching A Good Family Law Attorney In Washington County?
The most important thing to look for is experience. Every court is different. Although every judge follows the same laws, those can be interpreted in different ways and there are different practices among the courts. You must make sure that you find an attorney who is not only experienced in the law but is also experienced in whatever particular court you happen to be practicing in.
Also, you should see what previous clients have to say about the attorney. One of the most important factors in whether or not clients appreciate the service that an attorney provides is whether or not the attorney communicates with the client about what’s going on. You can have the best attorney in the world but if they keep you in the dark and you don’t know what’s going on, you’re probably not going to be very happy about your case.
Look for an attorney who has got experience in the law, experience in the local courts your case will be in and has had positive past client reviews.
For more information on Determining Child Custody In A TN Divorce, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (423) 262-8964 today.