Common Myths about Child Custody and Parenting TimeThere are a lot of myths and misconceptions about what happens during divorce with regard to child custody and parenting time. When parents go into the divorce process with pre-conceived ideas that are not productive, it can add to the chaos and confusion that often plagues these disputes. If both parents can adopt the mindset that their first priority will be to make choices that are in the child’s best interests, they are likely to be more willing to compromise when it comes time to make the tough decisions.

As family law attorneys in Nashville, we have helped a lot of clients who enter our office thinking one thing, and leave realizing that the truth is very different. The following are just a few of the most common myths surrounding child custody and co-parenting after divorce:

Myth: Children can always choose which parent they want to live with.

Under Tennessee law, if the child is over the age of 12, the court may consider their preference when deciding on who will get custody. If the child is under age 12, the court may consider their preferences as one of the many factors considered in determining what is in the best interest of the child with regard to custody. There is no rule, however, that says that children get to choose.

Myth: Mothers are almost always given primary residential custody of the children in divorce.

As family dynamics change over time, so do the courts evolve in the way they decide which parent will get custody of the children in divorce. The parent who performed the primary caregiving for the children during the marriage is most likely to be the parent that gets primary residential custody regardless of gender.

Myth: Parents who share joint custody do not have to pay child support.

The purpose of child support is to provide financial support for the child after the parents’ divorce. Even in cases where the child actually lives half of the year in overnights with each parent, the Court is required by law to set child support, and the income of each parent is factored into the calculation.

Myth: It is easier for divorced parents to communicate through their children.

Parents who are in conflict will often take steps to avoid dealing with their former spouse, and instead opt to communicate information for them though the child. After a weekend with their mom, a child might say, “Daddy told me to tell you that…. ” This puts the child in the awkward position of being a go-between for their parents, and it drags them into the fray. Divorcing parents must be able to find a way to communicate effectively with their child’s other parent and shield the child from their parents’ squabbles.

Myth: Parents will receive the amount of parenting time that is equal to the amount of time they spent with the child during the marriage.

The Tennessee courts place a priority on children developing bonded relationships with both parents. Children need to spend time with and be nurtured by both parents. Actual parenting time is decided at the judge’s discretion based on a whole host of factors, including the nature of the child’s relationship with each parent, the degree to which the parent has been a primary caregiver for the child, the parents’ work schedules and other factors under Tennessee law.

There are so many myths and misconceptions about how child custody and co-parenting operate. Working with an experienced Nashville divorce attorney can help you get over the difficult hurdles and create a workable plan that will support the needs of your child into the future. Please call 615-391-4200“>615-391-4200 or use our contact form to reserve your consultation with the knowledgeable legal team at Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC.