The rights of non-custodial parents under Tennessee law
On behalf of Judy A. Oxford, Attorney at Law posted in Child Custody on Thursday, December 10, 2015.
The custody of minor children can be one of the most painful and contentious issues in many Tennessee divorces. The argument usually focuses on which parent will have physical custody of the kids. But even a parent who loses a custody fight – the “non-custodial parent” – has certain rights under Tennessee divorce law.
The following enumeration of rights of non-custodial parents assumes two things – that the exercise of the rights will serve the best interests of the child and that the non-custodial parent has done nothing to forfeit any of these rights. Subject to these caveats, a non-custodial parent has the following minimal rights:
- Telephone calls at least twice a week
- Uncensored mail
- Receipt of important information as soon as possible, and no later than 24 hours after hospitalization or serious illness
- Receipt of medical records
- Freedom from derogatory marks about family members while in the child’s presence
- Receipt of 48 hours of extra-curricular activities and performances
- Receipt of an itinerary if the custodial parent takes the child out of the state for longer than 48 hours
- Access and participation in the child’s education and related activities
Any of the items on this list can be expanded or reduced in scope or frequency by the agreement of the divorcing parents with the approval of the court. Also, the court (or the parents) may consider the wishes of the child if he or she is deemed old enough to exercise sound judgment.
Anyone who is contemplating a divorce that will involve the custody of minor children can benefit from consulting a lawyer who specializes in divorce and family law. Such a consultation can provide an overview of the child-related issues in the divorce, likely outcomes for those issues, and a list of potential strategies for obtaining a favorable result.