If you are a divorced parent in Memphis, you should know that the courts recognize the rights of both parents to see their children and take child visitation rights very seriously. The courts place particular emphasis on the child’s best interest, and parents (even the custodial parent) can rarely if ever, deny visitation to the other parent. Attorney Shannon A. Jones has extensive experience helping parents across Tennessee with child visitation matters, and he will aggressively pursue the proper legal remedies to ensure that your rights to visitation are enforced.
Chapter 6 of Title 36 in the Tennessee Code is dedicated to child custody and visitation. Even when one parent is awarded physical custody, which Tennessee Code § 36-6-205(15) defines as the physical care and supervision of a child (and is different from legal custody, which refers to the right to make decisions for the child relating to education and medical care), the other parent still has certain visitation rights.
Child visitation agreements are often easier to execute in theory than they actually are in practice. Some parents can have wildly different schedules, and matters become more complicated in particularly contentious divorces.
If you need assistance exercising your child visitation rights in the greater Memphis area, make sure that you are working with an experienced attorney. Visitation laws in Tennessee are very complicated, and legal representation is often beneficial when it comes to court filings and other requests.
Shannon A. Jones, Attorney at Law handles child visitation and all kinds of family law issues for clients in Memphis and other nearby communities. Call (901) 390-9041 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Child Visitation Laws in Tennessee
Tennessee Code § 36-6-301 establishes that a court will, upon request of the noncustodial parent, grant rights of visitation after making a custody award that will enable the child and the noncustodial parent to maintain a parent-child relationship. The only exception is when the court finds that such visitation is likely to endanger the child’s physical or emotional health.
The same statute provides that the court must designate which parent’s home a minor child will reside in on given days of the year, including provisions for holidays and other special occasions. The court can require visitation to be supervised or prohibited when it finds that the noncustodial parent has physically or emotionally abused a child, and the visitation will continue to be supervised or prohibited until the abuse has ceased or there is no reasonable likelihood such abuse will recur.
The court can only order the department of children’s services to provide supervision of visitation in cases where the department is the petitioner or intervening petitioner in a case in which the custody or guardianship of a child is at issue. Tennessee Code § 36-6-302 establishes grandparents’ visitation rights upon a child’s removal or placement in a home or facility, and Tennessee Code § 36-6-303 relates to the visitation rights of stepparents.
Under Tennessee Code § 36-6-305, in any proceeding concerning the visitation of a child in which an order of protection issued in or recognized by Tennessee is in effect or there is a court finding of domestic abuse or criminal conviction involving domestic abuse within the marriage that is the subject of the proceeding, the court can order mediation or refer either party to mediation only if mediation is agreed to by the alleged victim of the alleged domestic or family violence, mediation is provided by a certified mediator trained in domestic and family violence in a specialized manner that protects the safety of the alleged victim, and the alleged victim is permitted to have a supporting person of their choice in attendance at mediation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Child Visitation
What Is The Difference Between Reasonable Visitation And Fixed Visitation?
When a court allows for reasonable visitation, it simply means that the parents are allowed much greater leeway in determining their visitation times. It is important to understand that the custodial parent often retains greater power in reasonable visitation situations because they do not have to accept the noncustodial parent’s proposed visitation plan. A fixed visitation schedule involves a court specifying the dates and times that a noncustodial parent will be given visitation rights. Fixed visitation is more common in cases in which parents cannot agree on a reasonable visitation schedule.
Does A Child Have Any Say In The Choice Of Primary Residential Parent?
Yes. Tennessee Code § 36-6-106(a)(13) establishes that the reasonable preference of a child who is 12 years of age or older is one of the factors that a court should consider in a suit for annulment, divorce, separate maintenance, or any other proceeding requiring the court to make a custody determination regarding a minor child. All determinations are made on the basis of the best interest of the child, and the court will hear the preference of a younger child upon request. The statute provides that the preference of older children should be given greater weight than those of younger children.
Can A Parent Refuse To Allow Visitation If Child Support Is Not Paid?
No. Child support is a completely independent issue. Child support has no bearing on a parent’s visitation rights. When a parent has not received child support, they should instead file a petition for contempt of court. Courts retain the power to modify any visitation agreement.
Contact a Memphis Child Visitation Attorney Today
Do you need help exercising visitation rights for your child because of a divorce in Memphis or a surrounding area of Tennessee? Contact Shannon A. Jones, Attorney at Law as soon as possible.
Shannon A. Jones is a former General Sessions Judge in Crockett County who has more than 20 years of legal experience. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (901) 390-9041 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.