Child Custody Laws in Tennessee

Get to Know the Child Custody Laws in Tennessee

Japanese generations
Elyse Lewin/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Child custody laws in Tennessee exist to ensure the safety and well-being of children throughout the state. To learn more about what to expect when you go to court, and how child custody laws in Tennessee could impact your case, here's what you need to know:

In the state of Tennessee, family courts use several factors to determine child custody cases. Primarily, the court determines child custody in Tennessee based on the best interests of the child. Parents who live in Tennessee and wish to file for full custody should first become familiar with the child custody statutes in the state of Tennessee.

Child Custody Laws in Tennessee

When determining child custody in Tennessee, the court will consider the following factors:

  • The best interests of the child, including his or her emotional and physical well-being
  • The love and affection and overall relationship between the child and the child's parents or caregivers
  • The mental and physical health of the parents or caregivers
  • The child's stated preference, if the child is of a sufficient age and maturity level to make a reasonable choice (generally age 12 or the older)
  • The parent or caregiver's ability to provide food, clothing, a proper education, and medical care for the child
  • The child's home, school, and community record
  • Any history of physical or emotional abuse
  • Each parent's willingness to foster and encourage a relationship between the child and the child's other parent
  • Any history of domestic abuse
  • Whether a custodial parent has been found guilty of the intentional death of the child's other parent or legal guardian

Relocation and Child Custody in Tennessee

Parents often ask how relocating will impact their child custody case. In Tennessee, if a parent intends to relocate out of the state or 100 miles from his/her current home, it is the responsibility of the relocating parent to serve a notice to the child's other parent at least 60 days prior to the move. The notice should include:

  • A statement of the intent to move
  • The address of new location
  • Reasons for the relocation
  • A statement that the child's other parent may oppose the move within 30 days

When a requested move is contested, the court will step in and decide whether to approve the request. In Tennessee, the court will consider several factors when determining whether to allow the move, including:

  • The importance of continuity in the child's life, considering the stability of the child's current home, school, and community
  • Whether the custodial parent will comply with a new custody and visitation schedule
  • The child's stated preference, if the child is of an age and maturity level to make an informed decision (generally age 12 or older)

Child Custody Modification in Tennessee

If either parent is not satisfied with the current child custody arrangement, he or she can request a modification. The courts will generally only revisit the case when there is evidence of new information that warrants a formal reconsideration of the child's best interests.

Military Service Members and Child Custody in Tennessee

If a service member who is also a custodial parent is called to active duty in Tennessee, the court will temporarily modify the child custody order. However, upon completion of duty, custody will revert back to the original order.

For more information about child custody in Tennessee, speak with a qualified attorney in Tennessee or refer to the Tennessee Domestic Relations Code.

Edited by Jennifer Wolf.

Watch Now: Tips for Spending Meaningful Time With Your Child During Divorce