For the most part, fathers in Tennessee largely have the same rights as mothers do. They have a right to spend time with their children and to have a say in key matters about their upbringing, including their health care and their education. Yet, when the relationship between parents changes, the resulting conflict often has implications for each parent’s rights in relation to their children.
Accusations of domestic violence could have a major impact on the outcome of Tennessee custody proceedings. Even if a prosecutor has never filed charges against a father, a mother could have obtained an order of protection against him. Can a father still get parenting time or visitation rights while subject to an order of protection in Tennessee?
Yes, parenting time could still be possible
Although some people will claim that a father’s situation is hopeless when the mother of his children has an order of protection against him, there are typically multiple options afforded to him. What matters most to a judge is what would be best for the children, and the best interests of the children will typically involve having plenty of time with both of their parents, even if the parents had a volatile relationship with one another.
When the alleged abuse that led to the order of protection only affected the other parent and not the children, that may not be enough to warrant a limitation of someone’s time with their children. Even if a judge has concerns for the safety of the children in the situation, they may still want to keep the father involved and could grant supervised visitation initially until there is a track record of good behavior and safe custody exchanges.
If a judge does not give a father access, he has an opportunity to improve his circumstances and then seek a modification later. Anger management classes, parenting courses and individual counseling are all ways for a father accused of domestic violence to establish his commitment to the relationship with his children and prove that he has worked on the issues that might raise questions about the safety of the children.
Seeking legal guidance to learn more about what rights people have during child custody conflicts can help parents make more informed choices designed to protect their relationship with their children.