Child Custody Attorney in Chattanooga

Experienced Assistance with Child Custody Cases

The best interests of your children are important to you, just as they are important to our legal team at the Law Offices of Meredith Mochel. We are dedicated to helping you understand your rights as a parent and the effect of a child custody arrangement or any other family law issue on your life, and that of your child.

How Child Custody Is Determined

The best interests of the child are the main determining factor in setting a custody arrangement. Multiple items are taken into consideration, including (but not limited to):

  • The wishes of the child
  • The potential for disruption of the child’s current home, life, and education routines
  • Both parents’ ability to provide for the well-being of the child
  • The level of cooperation between the parents, whether they are divorced or unmarried
  • Any physical abuse, substance abuse, or mental health issues of either parent

A judge will review all aspects of the case and decide based upon the entirety of the situation. If the case is being handled outside of court, a mediator or any other party will ensure that the agreed-upon custody arrangement suits the best needs of the child.

Legal Custody Vs. Physical Custody

There are two different types of custody that can be granted:

  • Legal custody refers to the decision-making capabilities for the child. Many parents share legal custody, called joint legal custody, as they both have a say in jointly making decisions for the child.
  • Physical custody refers to the actual time a child spends with a parent. Typically, one parent is the primary residential parent (PRP) and the child resides with this parent for the majority of the time. That parent would be said to have primary physical custody. The other parent, the alternate residential parent (ARP), would then have visitation privileges.

Child Custody Modification

It may be possible to modify a child custody order if one parent experiences a drastic change in their life circumstances. The loss of a job or gaining of a job, as well as a subsequent marriage, can cause a parent to have to relocate or change custody times. This modification process must go through the court in order to ensure the new arrangement is approved by a judge and is enforceable. Parents cannot just change a custody order on their own, even if both sides are in agreement.

Child Support Issues

The amount of child support that is to be paid is partially dependent on custody. The parent with whom the child does not reside (called the alternate residential parent) will be the parent paying child support. There are other factors that are taken into account as well when determining the amount of child support, including the parent’s income, whether or not the parent has other children, and more.

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