When the parents of a minor child decide to end their marriage, issues related to the child must be decided during the subsequent divorce process. Typically, one parent is awarded primary physical custody of the child while the other parent is awarded parenting time with the child. If you are the non-custodial parent, you may be wondering what your rights are regarding your child. It is always best to consult directly with an attorney to be certain you know where you stand; however, a Murfreesboro divorce attorney at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby offers a general overview of your rights if you are the non-custodial, or alternative residential, parent in Tennessee.
Primary Residential Parent and Alternative Residential Parent
Like most states, Tennessee courts no longer uses the terms “custody” and “visitation.” Instead, the parent who has the child most of the time is referred to as the “Primary Residential Parent (PRP)” while the other parent is the “Alternative Residential Parent (ARP).” Also, time a child spends with a parent is referred to as “parenting time” instead of “visitation.” Another important term to know is “ultimate decision-maker.” This refers to the parent who has the legal authority to make important decisions relating to the child if the parents are unable to agree.
Rights of the Alternative Residential Parent
The rights that both parents have to a child are outlined in Tennessee Code Annotated Section 36-6-101(a)(3). Therefore, if you are the ARP you have the following rights to your child unless a court determines that limiting, or denying, the right to you is in the best interest of the child:
- 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; and
- 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; and
- 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.
Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Attorney
If you have additional questions or concerns about the rights you have as the non-custodial (ARP) in Tennessee, 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.