Do you know your parental rights under Tennessee law?

On Behalf of | Jul 9, 2024 | Child Custody |

Like a lot of states, Tennessee has moved toward recognizing the importance in most cases of parents sharing time with and decision-making responsibilities for their children after divorce. The law also recognizes that one person isn’t entitled to greater parenting responsibilities because of their gender. 

Tennessee law also lists a number of specific rights that parents have to help them maintain contact with their child and involvement in their life. Certainly, these rights assume that both parents have the relevant custody, visitation and other rights to their child. Let’s look at just a few.

Telephone contact

The law gives parents the right to have “unimpeded telephone conversations with the child at least twice a week at reasonable times and for reasonable durations” when the other parent has the child. Of course, these days, these are more likely to be FaceTime or other video calls.

Notification of injury, illness or hospitalization

The law requires the parent who has the child to notify the other parent “as soon as practicable but within twenty-four (24) hours” if the child suffers a serious injury or illness, is hospitalized or passes away. They’re also required to give their child’s medical providers with the other parent’s contact information. 

If parents share medical decision-making authority, of course, their child’s doctors should have contact information for both parents. The law also states that unless the custody order states otherwise, both parents have the right to their child’s “medical, health or other treatment records directly from the treating physician or healthcare provider.”

Educational records and other school information

Parents have the right to “receive directly from the child’s school any educational records customarily made available to parents.” These include things like report cards, standardized test scores, class schedules, attendance records and teachers’ names.

Parents also have the right to “access and participation in the child’s education on the same basis that are provided to all parents,” – for example during school activities where parents may be in the audience or otherwise in attendance.

These are just some of the rights delineated in the law. It’s wise to become more familiar with the law to know your rights. It can help to include them in your parenting plan. Having experienced legal guidance can help you better protect your rights.