How is Child Custody Determined in Tennessee?

How is Child Custody Determined in Tennessee?

Tennessee courts use several factors to determine who gets custody of the children. The guiding factor in all TN custody decisions is the best interests of the child. Courts are prohibited from considering the gender of the parent in their child custody determinations. In making initial custody determinations the court will consider all relevant factors in the case including:

  • The Willingness and ability of the parent to facilitate and encourage a close relationship between the child and the other parent.
  • The ability of the parent to instruct, inspire, and encourage the child
  • The strength, nature, and stability of the relationship between the child and the parent
  • The parents refusal to attend a court ordered parent education class
  • The disposition of the parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and education
  • The degree to which a parent has been the primary caregiver
  • The love, affection, and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child
  • The emotional needs and developmental level of the child
  • The character and physical and emotional fitness of the parent
  • The importance of continuity in the child’s life
  • Evidence of abuse of the child or the other parent
  • If the child is over 12, the preference of the child may be considered
  • Any other factors that are relevant to the court
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