Child Custody Lawyer 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 Chattanooga office of Meredith Mochel Attorney at Law. 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 is Child Custody Determined?
The child's best interests 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 on 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 child's best needs.
Legal Custody Vs. Physical Custody
Two different types of custody can be granted:
- Legal custody refers to the decision-making capabilities of 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.
Modifying a Child Custody Order
It may be possible to modify a child custody order if one parent experiences a drastic change in life circumstances. The loss of a job or gaining a job and a subsequent marriage can cause a parent to relocate or change custody times. This modification process must go through the court to ensure the new arrangement is approved by a judge and is enforceable. Even if both sides agree, parents cannot change a custody order independently.
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. Other factors 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.
Contact the Law Offices of Meredith Mochel today to schedule a FREE consultation with our child custody attorney in Chattanooga!