Child Custody and Visitation

One of the most difficult outcomes of a divorce is the separation of children from their parents. It is very emotional and very hard on the entire family. There are several things to consider regarding the welfare of your children. A skilled family law attorney can assist in creating ways for both parents to maintain prominent roles in a child’s upbringing and development and help the child receive the stability and structure that he or she needs.

We use legal knowledge and personal care to create practical and lasting arrangements that you can live with now and as your children grow up. For more information, contact us as your Tennessee family law professional. We know how to navigate the complexities of custody cases and see that the best interests of your child are carried out.


There are two types of custody in the State of Tennessee, physical custody and legal custody (variations of visitation exist within these types of custody). The amount of time the child spends with each parent should be based on the type of custody the parents have. In most cases, Judges allot 50/50 co-parenting time if possible. However, sometimes that is not feasible due to conflicting work schedules, living far apart or other factors. Tennessee family courts most often prefer that co-parents reach an agreement outside of the courtroom to determine their own custody arrangement. You and your co-parent must create and agree on a parenting plan, which you will then submit to the court for approval.

Parent Relocation

The relocation of the custodial co-parent and child is treated much differently in Tennessee than in most other states. In cases where joint legal custody is enforced, the custodial parent is allowed to move out of the state with the child without having to modify the original custody order, once they have given the other parent 30 days written notice.  Unless the non-custodial co-parent can provide evidence that the custodial co-parent is only relocating to prevent a close relationship between the non-custodial co-parent and the child.

Juvenile Court

If you were never married to the person you have a child with, you will always settle custody issues in Juvenile Court. Judges are generally referred to as Referees and the ultimate Juvenile Court Judge is referred to as the Honorable Timothy Irwin. The Referee will appoint an attorney to be Guardian Ad Litem, which means they represent the child’s interest, not the child. The Guardian Ad Litem is a neutral party who examines all parties and makes a recommendation to the Judge as to what he or she thinks is in the best interest of the child. You will need an attorney that knows the different laws in Juvenile Court. I have over 25 years of experience, including six years of volunteering as a Guardian Ad Litem in Juvenile Court.

Custody Modifications

If you believe problems involving child custody have risen, it is best to seek the advice of a family law attorney before proceeding with any action to change child custody. This will help you make the proper decision on how to proceed to modify or change child custody. Tennessee law and the courts allow for modifications of child custody decreed under very limited circumstances. The initial issue must involve a material change in circumstance which negatively impacts the child(ren). In recent years, the courts have taken the changing needs of the child into consideration.

Be sure to talk openly about any and all issues with your Knoxville Divorce Attorney. We can help you understand your rights as a parent no matter the custodial circumstances.