Most child custody disputes in Tennessee are resolved at the negotiating table because the parties involved find a way to put their differences aside in the best interests of their children. When parents are unable to reach an agreement that both sides can live with, family law judges make these decisions based upon what they consider to be in the best interests of the child. In the vast majority of cases, this means some sort of joint parenting arrangement.
Fear of losing children
Judges prefer joint custody because research clearly shows that children are more likely to thrive in these environments. When a parent is denied access to their children or their access is limited and supervised, it is usually because they are struggling with serious substance abuse problems, have committed acts of domestic violence or lead lifestyles that could place children in danger. Judges understand that family life can be difficult and parents who do not live together face additional challenges, which is why they rarely deny parental access unless the situation is serious.
Child custody hearings
This means that parents who do not lead lives that could endanger their children should not be overly concerned about appearing in court to attend child custody hearings. They should gather all of the documents that may need to support their arguments, and they should dress appropriately and obey the rules of the court. They should also try to remain calm even when the matters being discussed are sensitive and personal, and they should remember that judges care little about domestic squabbles and focus instead on the safety and well-being of the child.
Avoiding court battles
Prolonged and bitter custody battles that play out in court can leave children with deep psychological scars, and parents who leave these matters up to a judge can never be sure that the decision will go their way. That is why it is always best to settle child custody disputes amicably. When negotiations are unproductive and a public confrontation seems inevitable, alternative approaches like mediation that are based on finding common ground may provide a solution.