Child Custody & Visitation

Cases involving child custody and visitation can be emotionally challenging. The end result of these cases will have an immediate and often long-term effect on the children and their relationship with both parents. The Law Office of James M. Marshall understands this and we work hard to protect the rights of our clients and the best interest of their children. We have extensive experience in dealing with complex custody and visitation issues and we represent our clients aggressively to obtain the best result.

In making an initial custody determination, the Courts consider the following statutory (T.C.A. Section 36-6-106) factors in making a best interest finding regarding which parent should have primary custody:

  • The love, affection and emotional ties existing between the parents and the child;
  • The disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, education, and other necessary care and the degree to which a parent has been the primary caregiver;
  • The importance of continuity in the child’s life and length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment;
  • The stability of the family unit of the parents;
  • The mental and physical health of the parents;
  • The home, school, and community record of the child;
  • The reasonable preference of the child, if twelve (12) years of age or older;
  • Evidence of physical or emotional abuse to the child, to the other parent or to any other person;
  • The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent and the person’s interactions with the child;
  • Each parent’s past and potential future performance of parenting responsibilities, including the willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the parents, consistent with the best interest of the child

In representing a client on issues involving child custody, it is extremely important to prepare the strongest case possible to establish evidence that follows the statutory criteria set forth above. In making its findings, the Court will go through each one of those statutory criteria in determining which parent provides should be awarded primary custody. At the Law Office of James M. Marshall, we have the knowledge and experience to prepare the best case for our clients given their particular circumstance.

Life goes on after divorce, and as time goes by, significant changes can occur which call for a modification of custody and/or visitation orders. Those changes can include:
  • Serious safety concerns involving alcohol abuse, drug addiction, criminal activity, and other conduct which you believe endangers your child
  • Dramatic decline in the child’s school performance either in grades and/or behavior
  • Issues with the primary parent denying the other parent’s rightful parenting time, or other indications of parental alienation.
  • Either parent’s desire to relocate to a new residence where the distance creates an unworkable situation under the existing custody/visitation orders.
  • An older child expressing a desire to live with the other parent, where the child is 11 years old or older.

If you believe a modification is in the best interest of your children, you need an experienced attorney to help guide you through the custody/visitation modification process.