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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

What to do when a custody hearing is necessary

Tennessee parents who are getting a divorce must also work out custody and visitation. They might be more satisfied with a plan they negotiate themselves, but this is not always possible. Therefore, they may need to prepare for a custody hearing. They might need to hire an attorney, and they should go into the hearing with an understanding of custody laws.

In choosing who the best parent will be for the child's particular situation, a judge will look at a variety of factors including a person's dress and demeanor in the custody hearing. If a parent can demonstrate a willingness and ability to compromise with the other parent, this will count in their favor. Parents may also bring documents in to support their custody claim.

The court uses the standard of the best interests of the child to make a decision. This may not reflect a parent's idea of the child's best interests or their own convenience. However, the parent who is not awarded primary custody might still have substantial visitation time. A parenting plan may help parents cope with some of the potential conflicts that could arise after the divorce.

How parents design the parenting plan and the degree of contact they have after the divorce may depend upon how much conflict there is between them. For some, the only contact may be through text messages or attorneys about arrangements for pickup and dropoff of the children. The parenting agreement may need to have strict parameters to prevent further disputes. Others may have a more amicable relationship and agree to attend children's extracurricular activities and other events together. Mediation might also be an option for some parents who are unable to resolve their difficulties and who find this interferes with their ability to co-parent after their divorce.

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