When a marriage ends in divorce there are typically a seemingly endless number of decisions that must be made during the divorce process. If there are minor children involved, the decisions that must be made increase exponentially. To begin with, you will have to decide which parent will have primary, or physical, custody of the children. If you find yourself contemplating the issue of custody of your children, you may be wondering “ Should my spouse have the children most of the time because he/she does not work? ” Because question such as this one require a complete evaluation of the unique facts and circumstances involved in the divorce to answer properly it is always best to consult with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney for answers; however, some general information about how custody is decided in Tennessee may be helpful.
There was a time when the law operated on the presumption that a mother would be given custody of the children in a divorce. That presumption could only be overcome with proof that the mother was unfit to have custody of the children. That presumption no longer exists. In the 21st century, the law assumes that both parents are fit to have custody of the children absent evidence to the contrary. As such, when the parents of a minor child are unable to agree on who should have primary, or physical, custody of the child a judge will have to make the decision after considering a number of factors, such as:
- Each parent’s ability to prepare the children for adulthood.
- The children’s relationship with each parent.
- The children’s emotional and developmental needs.
- The likelihood each parent can provide the children with necessities, including food and shelter.
- Which parent has been the children’s primary caregiver.
- In the case of children over 12 years of age, the parent that the child would prefer to live with.
If one parent has been a “stay at home” parent throughout the duration of the marriage that fact will be taken into consideration when deciding the issue of custody. Assuming the parent has the financial means to continue to remain at home with the children the court may consider this to be a favorable scenario for the children; however, because f the complexity of factors involved in deciding custody this factor alone will not typically be the only factor considered.
If you are contemplating divorce in the State of Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with the experienced Tennessee criminal defense attorneys at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.