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Home » Turner Law Offices Blog » How Does the Court Decide Who Will be the Primary Residential Parent in Child Custody?

How Does the Court Decide Who Will be the Primary Residential Parent in Child Custody?

tennessee Child Custody lawyer

In order for parents to qualify for divorce, they must agree to a parenting plan with the court. A parenting plan is a written document specifically outlining how the divorcing parents will care for their child. The plan allocates responsibilities to each parent for the caring of their child, as well as determining how much child support will be owed and who will be the primary residential parent. The plan will even go into detail over where the child will be on significant days of the year, including birthdays, holidays, vacations, and other special occasions.

Of the two parents, one is deemed the primary residential parent, with whom the child will be spending more than half of their time. Because the child spends so much time with the primary residential parent, they are most often the one who must care for the childrens’ day-to-day needs.

Determining Who Will be the Primary Residential Parent

The court takes many factors into account when determining the primary residential parent, making sure the plan best fits the child’s development level as well as the family’s economic and social circumstances. The decision is made to provide the child with a loving, stable, and nurturing relationship with his or her parents. Determining factors for who will be the primary residential parent include the following:

● The child’s relationship with each parent, siblings, and other significant adults.
● With siblings, the court often does its best to keep them together, only splitting them if there are compelling, reasonable, and practical reasons.
● The child’s preference of parent, if 12 years of age or older.
● The parents’ work schedules.
● The degree of contribution each parent has put into caring for the child.
● The stability of the child’s life, including school and extracurricular activities.
● Any evidence of abuse, physical or emotional, to the child or either parent.
● The behavior and character of any other person residing in or frequenting the homes of each parent, especially if there is any interaction with the child.
In general, the court will often choose what is best for the child in an attempt to provide them with a nurturing environment in which they can grow. The desires of the parents come second to that of the child.

If you are considering divorce, or feel like the parenting plan for your children needs modified, our attorneys are here to help. The legal process of child custody can be difficult to navigate on your own, and if your ex-spouse has an attorney on their side, they will greatly outmatch you in court. Call us today to speak with our experienced attorneys and see how they can give your case the strong support it needs.

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