What Are My Rights as a Non-Custodial Parent in Tennessee?

When a divorce involves children, one of the issues that must be settled during the divorce proceedings is “custody” of the children. Although that term is outdated, and no longer formally used, you may still think of yourself as the “non-custodial” parent post-divorce. When issues involving the children arise after the divorce, you may need to know where you stand legally and what your rights are as a “non-custodial” parent. With that in mind, a Murfreesboro divorce lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby explains the right of a non-custodial parent in Tennessee.

Primary and Alternative Residential Parents

Terms such as “custodial parent” and non-custodial parent” are no longer used in Tennessee. Instead, one parent is designatedmilitary-divorce-banner as the “Primary Residential Parent (PRP)” while the other parent becomes the “Alternative Residential Parent (ARP)” post-divorce in Tennessee. The PRP is the parent with whom the child lives most of the time while the ARP exercises parenting time with the child according to the schedule set forth in the Parenting Plan. “Visitation” is another term that is no longer formally used when discussing time spent with children after a divorce. 

Parental Rights Post-Divorce in Tennessee

Parental rights after a divorce are governed by Tennessee Code Section 36-6-101(a)(3). Although it is still common to refer to the rights of a “non-custodial” parent, the law bestows the following rights on both parents:

Except when the court finds it not to be in the best interests of the affected child, each order pertaining to the custody or possession of a child arising from an action for absolute divorce, divorce from bed and board or annulment shall grant to each parent the rights listed in subdivisions (a)(3)(A)-(a)(3)(F) during periods when the child is not in that parent’s possession or shall incorporate such rights by reference to a prior order. Other orders pertaining to custody or possession of a child may contain the rights listed in subdivisions (a)(3)(A)-(a)(3)(F). The referenced rights are as follows:

  • The right to unimpeded telephone conversations with the child at least twice a week at reasonable times and for reasonable durations.
  • The right to send mail to the child that the other parent shall not open or censor.
  • The right to receive notice and relevant information as soon as practicable but within twenty-four (24) hours of any event of hospitalization, major illness or death of the child.
  • The right to receive directly from the child’s school records, names of teachers, class schedules, standardized test scores, and any other records customarily made available to parents, upon written request that includes a current mailing address and upon payment of reasonable costs of duplicating.
  • Unless otherwise provided by law, the right to receive copies of the child’s medical, health or other treatment records directly from the physician or health care provider who provided such treatment or health care upon written request that contains a current mailing address and upon payment of reasonable costs of duplication; provided, that no person who receives the mailing address of a parent as a result of this requirement shall provide such address to the other parent or a third person.
  • The right to be free of unwarranted derogatory remarks made about such parent or such parent’s family by the other parent to or in the presence of the child.
  • The right to be given at least forty-eight (48) hours’ notice, whenever possible, of all extra-curricular activities, and the opportunity to participate or observe, including, but not limited to, the following:
    • School activities
    • Athletic activities
    • Church activities
    • Other activities as to which parental participation or observation would be appropriate.
  • The right to receive from the other parent, in the event the other parent leaves the state with the minor child or children for more than two (2) days, an itinerary including telephone numbers for use in the event of an emergency.
  • The right of access and participation in education, including the right of access to the minor child or children for lunch and other activities, on the same basis that is provided to all parents, provided the participation or access is reasonable and does not interfere with day-to-day operations or with the child’s educational performance.

Any of the foregoing rights may be denied in whole or in part to one or both parents by the court upon a showing that such denial is in the best interests of the child. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the court from ordering additional rights where the facts and circumstances so require.

Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Attorney 

If you believe that any of your rights relating to your children have been violated, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro divorce attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.