In many divorce cases, if the mother had been the primary care-taker for the children during the marriage, the mother is appointed as the primary residential parent—in other words as the parent with whom the child will reside the majority of the time, and who will have the authority to make day-to-day decisions about the care and control of the child. However, Tennessee fathers are increasingly seeking expanded visitation rights. They want to play a more significant role in their children’s lives, by having their children visit with them, or reside with them, more than just every other weekend, or one overnight a week, or a week or so during vacations.
In order to seek their full visitation rights, Tennessee fathers must address the various factors that a judge will consider in determining the custody arrangements that would be in the best interests of a child. Those factors include:
- the love and emotional ties between each parent and the child
- each parent’s ability and inclination to meet the child’s needs in regard to food, clothing, medical care, and education
- the degree to which a parent has been the primary caregiver for the child
- the significance of continuity in a child’s living arrangements (the longer that a child has lived in a particular “satisfactory” environment, the less likely a judge will be to change the existing arrangement)
- the mental and physical health of each parent
- the preference of the child (in particular when the child is more than 12 years old)
- any evidence that the child was physically or emotionally abused by either parent
- the child’s interactions with other people who may reside with or frequently visit a parent
- each parent’s willingness to facilitate and support a continuing close parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent involved.
In some cases, judges will order “supervised visitation,” in which the non-custodial parent is allowed to visit with the child only under the supervision of a third party.
However, even after a parenting plan has been established, a parent may seek modifications to that plan if a “material” (or significant) change has taken place in the circumstances of the people involved.
If you are a father who is seeking either unsupervised visitation or a specific visitation plan that will allow you more time to spend with your child, please call the Hartsoe Law Firm today. Our attorneys are effective, efficient, and ready to help.
The Hartsoe Law Firm will assist selected fathers and grandparents in fighting for their rights to be involved in the lives of their children and grandchildren.