Divorce has changed over time, and there is much less stigma around it than a few decades ago. Child custody has changed with it. Until 1997, Tennessee worked on the principle that children were better off living with their mothers and that fathers would get visitation rights. That is no longer the case.
Tennessee judges must now work from a more neutral position, seeking what is in the child’s best interest without any gender-based presumptions. Nor can they assume that sole custody is better than joint custody or vice versa. They need to take each situation on its particular merits.
Most judges will award joint legal custody. It is physical custody that more often causes disputes. If you agree to share custody, a judge can only go against your wishes if they have compelling evidence that this is a poor idea. So the simplest way to get joint custody is to sit down with your spouse and reach an agreement.
What if my spouse does not want to share custody?
People can come up with many arguments against sharing custody. Here are some of them and their counterarguments:
- It will confuse the child: It will not if you do it well. Many children live between two homes.
- You are too busy to look after them: You could alter your work schedule or hire help.
- You can’t cook: You can learn.
Children benefit from spending time with both parents as each brings something different to the equation. Getting help to find out more about divorce laws can help you construct a winning argument to convince your spouse and a judge that sharing custody is in your child’s best interests.