Tennessee Child Custody Factors

In Tennessee, the court will take into consideration the following primary factors when determining what custody arrangement is best for a child:

(a) the love, affection, and emotional ties between the parents and child;

(b) the importance of continuity and the length of time the child has lived in a stable and satisfactory environment;

(c) whether there has been any domestic violence or physical or mental abuse to the child, spouse, or any other person and whether a parent has had to relocate to avoid such violence;

(d) the stability of the family unit;

(e) the mental and physical health of the parents;

(f) the home, school, and community record of the child;

(g) the reasonable preference of a child over 12 years of age;

(h) the character and behavior of any person who lives in or visits the parentís home and such personís interactions with the child; and

(i) each parentís past and potential performance of parenting duties, including a willingness and ability to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship with the other parent. (Tennessee Code - Volume 6A, Title 36, Sections 36-4-106)

In Tennessee, as with all other states, the court will always be looking out for the best interests of the children. What you want or your spouse wants is not really relevant until the court says it is. Many parents go to custody hearings not realizing that they must portray themselves as the best custodial parent rather pleading to the court that they simply deserve the children. The court would much prefer the parents to decide who should have custody, but if they canít, the court will do it for them. You can also read more about Tennessee child custody in the Tennessee state statutes located at: