Having plenty of time with the kids is usually the top priority for parents considering a divorce. Most of the time, the Tennessee family courts will do their best to include both parents in the parenting plan for the family and protect both parental relationships.
The average family can expect that they will have a shared parenting arrangement after divorce. However, for a small number of divorcing parents, sole custody is the best and safest option after a divorce. If you worry about how your ex will parent, you may need to consider whether sole custody might actually be the better option for your family.
You need to have justification for seeking sole custody
Disagreements about parenting style or anger over an extramarital affair are not going to be compelling reasons to grant full custody to one parent in the eyes of the courts. The courts generally assume that joint custody will be in the best interests of the child.
However, a history of abuse, an inability to provide care or a pattern of neglect might justify giving one parent full custody during a divorce. In some cases, a request for sole custody can move forward with little contention because the other parent doesn’t assert their rights or ask for shared custody.
If your ex wants parenting time, you will need some kind of evidence to convince the courts that your request for sole custody is reasonable and in the best interests of the children.
What kind of documentation can help you gain sole custody?
If your ex has a history of violent abuse, a police report, medical records or even photographs of injuries, these can all help substantiate your claim. If you never needed to seek medical treatment or were too afraid to call the police, statements by neighbors, therapists and others with insight into your family circumstances can also help validate allegations about your spouse’s dangerous behavior.
In cases involving addiction and neglect, it may be harder to prove how someone behaves while under the influence of their drug of choice than it is to show the courts that there is a history of substance abuse. The details of your situation will influence the best strategy for protecting your children. Still, the sooner you start planning, the more time you’ll have to build a compelling case.