Types of Child Custody in Knoxville, Tennessee

Child custody, like every other aspect of separation, can be complex and frustrating. To make things more confusing, there are multiple types of child custody in Tennessee and each parenting plan is unique. If you and your partner are separating and you have children under the age of 18, custody is probably one of your primary concerns.

First, it’s essential to hire an experienced family law attorney if you’re hoping for a fair custody outcome. Otherwise, you could be blindsided by a surprise move from your former partner or their lawyer. Divorce and custody battles can stir up fierce emotions, causing people to do and say things that would typically be out of character. But a skilled attorney can help you navigate every custody challenge and obstacle that comes your way.

How Does Custody Work in Tennessee?

The aim of all child custody arrangements is to do what’s best for the children while keeping things fair for both parents. Unfortunately, the pain of separation can sometimes cause parents to behave in ways that aren’t healthy for the children or anyone else involved. 

For example, one parent might try to keep the children away from the other parent, or their behavior could be seen as a threat to the children’s safety. In cases like this, court intervention is often necessary. Parenting plans and custody resolutions serve to make the best of a difficult situation and preserve the children’s well-being as much as possible.

Full Custody

Full custody is when children live with one parent – the custodial parent – full time. Full custody is not the most common option, but it can occur if one parent’s dedication, fitness, or ability to responsibly care for their children is in question. 

A parent might be awarded full custody if the other parent is guilty of the following:

  • Emotional abuse of a child
  • Physical abuse of a child
  • Abuse of the other parent
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Mental health issues
  • Neglecting the child’s needs
  • Frustration of another parent’s custody
  • Failure to commit to parental responsibilities

Unfortunately, custody negotiations can sometimes involve false or exaggerated accusations as one parent tries to maintain the upper hand or even punish their former partner. These complicated relational dynamics make divorce attorneys essential for reaching a fair and honest resolution.

Joint Custody

More commonly, joint custody is awarded. Contrary to popular belief, joint custody does not mean an exact 50/50 split. The idea is to give the children access to both parents in a way that works best for everyone involved. The exact arrangement depends on the needs of the children, the parents’ schedules, living environments, etc.

Even with joint custody, there is usually a primary residence. For instance, the children live with one parent most of the time, but they alternate and live with the other parent at predetermined intervals. Ideally, both parents are in cooperation, working together to achieve the healthiest arrangement for their children.  


When one parent has full custody, the other parent usually still has a right to visitation. You might see this agreement in situations where the children’s parents were never married, the father has limited involvement, or one parent’s caretaking abilities are questionable. With this agreement, the child or children live with one parent full time, but the other parent has a right to visitations.

How Can Knoxville Child Custody Attorneys Help?

Child custody journeys can be harrowing. We understand that the process might be long and exhausting. But having a skilled child custody attorney at your side can make a big difference. 

Our dedicated attorneys can help with the following:

  • Filing critical and complex paperwork with the right people at the correct times
  • Preparing witnesses for court and gathering character witnesses 
  • Collecting essential evidence and getting in touch with expert witnesses
  • Preparing you for your testimony, including answering difficult questions
  • Helping you develop a winning hearing strategy for your approach and attitude

Contact An Experienced Knoxville Custody Attorney Today

Child custody is a sensitive, complex matter. When the stakes are high and emotions are raw, it can be hard to make clear-headed decisions. A Knoxville custody attorney will help you develop a plan that makes you feel empowered, equipped, and prepared.

Contact Mandy Hancock Law today if you need help resolving a custody issue. Our family lawyers will put your needs first and work tirelessly to achieve a favorable outcome that supports your child’s best interest. We’ll keep you updated every step of the way to alleviate some of the stress and pain that comes with the challenging experience that is child custody.