TN Law Clarifies Rights Parents Have When Sharing Custody
Experienced Franklin child custody attorney explains the highlights of the law and how they may affect you
How you will split custody of your children is one of your primary concerns when negotiating your divorce or separation. When deciding on child custody agreements, the court will be concerned with what is in the best interest of the child. Those considerations will guide the court’s decision on where the children should live, how parents share time, what child support should be paid and so on.
Though children are of chief concern in these arrangements, you also have legal rights as a parent that are designed to protect your relationship with your children, even if you are not the primary caregiver.
Recent changes to TN law established a parental bill of rights, so to speak, regarding contact when children are with the other parent. Some of these rights include:
- The ability to have phone calls twice a week for a reasonable duration at a reasonable time of day. The parent who is with the child has to provide the other parent with a phone number where the child can be reached and an appropriate time to call.
- Sending mail (or email) to the child without the other parent opening, censoring, destroying or defacing the correspondence. The parent who is with the child also should not delay delivery of letters or packages.
- Being notified within 24 hours (but preferably sooner) if a child has experienced major illness or injury, been hospitalized, or died.
- Receiving school records and correspondence in a timely manner, as well as receiving the name and all contact information for the school and relevant educators.
- Receiving medical and health records directly from the provider.
- Not being subject to derogatory remarks in the presence of the child. The parent who is present also should not make derogatory remarks about the other parent’s family.
- Receiving advance notice of extracurricular activities and special events, such as recitals, at which parents can observe or participate.
- Receiving an itinerary for any out-of-state travel with the child, as well as details of the trip like transportation and lodging, and contact information.
- The ability to participate in school activities and education.
If your co-parent is not honoring these rights, you may have cause to challenge the custody order or to take other legal action. I have been helping parents in Franklin, Tennessee and the surrounding areas protect their rights in divorce and custody cases for over 30 years, even before these rights were codified so clearly in the law. I am dedicated to helping you get the custody arrangement you want and to protect your relationship with your children.