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Equal Parenting Time For Fathers

Attorney Georgina K. Hughes June 13, 2022

In the past, there was a judicial bias that traditionally gave mothers an advantage in custody disputes.  This was because more times that not, the mother was the stay-at-home caretaker while the father worked full-time.  However, times have changed and that is no longer necessarily the case. More women work full-time now with both parents sharing the parental responsibilities.  

The Tennessee legislature recognized this and in 2011, they amended the child custody statute, T.C.A. 36-6-106, to included to the following language:

“In taking into account the child's best interest, the court shall order a custody arrangement that permits both parents to enjoy the maximum participation possible in the life of the child consistent with the factors set out below, the location of the residences of the parents, the child's need for stability and all other relevant factors.”

Today, fathers start out on more equal ground when it comes to custody arrangements.  That does not necessarily mean 50/50 parenting time, but often it does.  The court also looks at other factors including, but not limited to, who has performed most of the parenting responsibilities, the ability of each parent to provide food, clothing, medical care and education, and the ability to foster a close and continuous relationship with other parent.


Below are several things you can do that may result in you gaining equal parenting time:

1.     Be actively involved in your child’s life.  Attend doctor appointments, school plays, sporting events, and parent-teacher conferences. 

2.     If you are contemplating divorce or have a divorce pending, do not move out of the home leaving the children behind.

3.     Pay child support.  Even if there is no child support order. This shows the court your willingness and ability to provide for the child.

4.     Be flexible.  One of the biggest factors the courts look at is the ability to co-parent.  The court expects parents to be able to communicate and cooperate with each other.  This may mean switching parenting time to accommodate things that arise. 

5.     Facilitate a relationship with the other parent.  Encourage the child to call the other parent during your parenting time.  Speak positively about the mother in the presence of the minor child.

6.     Maintain regular contact with the children.  Even if the mother is refusing to let you see the child, regularly call or text the child. 

7.     Maintain records.  Keep records of your visitation, phone calls, appointments you attend and child support that you pay.

8.     Prepare a space for them in your home.  Show the court you have made living accommodations for your child.

9.     I cannot stress this enough, do NOT speak negatively about the other parent on social media.

I have experience in helping fathers obtain custody arrangements that best meet their needs and the needs of their children.  Contact me today for a consultation and learn how I can help you.