Child Custody & Parenting Time Attorney - Chattanooga, TN

There is nothing more important than your children. Even for a couple facing a contentious divorce battle, it is paramount to make sure the children are taken care of, their living arrangements are established clearly and there is minimum stress placed on them during the divorce process and the ensuing years. Working with an experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate child custody attorney is the best way to ensure you protect your children and their future.

Talk with Patricia Best Vital, Chattanooga lawyer and founder of Vital Law Office & Dispute Resolution Services. Ms. Vital has over 20 years of legal experience serving clients in custody, visitation, parenting-time and other divorce-related matters throughout Hamilton County, Tennessee.

The Approach You Take will Affect the Outcome

Most people consider the final result more than they think about how to get there, but the way child custody and parenting time are determined could have a major impact on the final result. When mediating or using other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, parents are allowed to work together to arrive at a parenting plan that will work best for everyone involved, rather than leaving the decision in the hands of a judge who does not know them or their unique needs. This can make for more amicable and effective communications and transitions for many years after the divorce is finalized.

Although ADR is usually the preferred method for determining parenting plans, this approach is not a viable option in many cases. When ADR is not an option, it is important to protect your interests and those of your child aggressively in the courtroom.

Ms. Vital is a licensed and experienced mediator, as well as a litigator with more than 20 years of experience. She will help you determine the best course of action for your case and she can represent you in mediation or litigation.

“Child custody is one of the most important aspects of my divorce practice. I know how important your children are to you, and I want you to know that your child custody case matters to me, too. I will work with you personally to understand your situation, determine the best way to proceed and make sure your children’s lives will be protected. With my law firm, you will work as a team with your lawyer so that you can get the results you need.”

Attorney Patricia Best Vital

Some Parental Rights FAQs

How Does Divorce Impact Families with Children?

Understandably, as a parent, your primary concern during divorce is the health and well-being of your child. Divorce can cause intense emotional strain on a growing child, and the prolonged exposure to unstable — and sometimes unsafe — environments can be detrimental to childhood development. As your attorney, Ms. Vital helps you balance the delicate relationship between protecting your rights to your child and providing a dependable and well-balanced environment in which they can grow.

How Does a Court Decide Custody?

Tennessee courts evaluate many factors when determining what is best for a child, including parental history, parental finances, the child’s education and the child’s wishes. However, court-mandated custody orders are often arbitrary. In many cases, the best thing parents can do is determine an agreement that is suitable to both parties before ever going to court. The firm offers in-court services and extensive dispute resolution services.

How Do I Provide a Caring Environment for My Child After Divorce?

One of the best things you can do as a parent is to provide a calm, predictable environment. This often means approaching co-parenting calmly, respectfully and cooperatively. As an attorney with extensive dispute resolution training, Ms. Vital can help you achieve a mutually beneficial co-parenting agreement and maintain a sense of civility in your relationship with your child’s other parent.

Can I Change My Custody Agreement?

Yes. Families change and adapt. As a result, a previously ideal custody and visitation schedule may not fit your family only a few years later. As your child grows and joins extracurriculars and your family dynamic changes, a modification may be necessary. In those cases, Vital Law Office & Dispute Resolution Services can help you regain your sense of stability and equilibrium.

Can You Change a Parenting Plan in TN After a Divorce is Finalized?

Can a parent change a parenting plan? Yes, in certain situations you can change a parenting plan. Tennessee law refers to this process as a modification.

The court generally separates modification requests into two categories: emergency based or non-emergency. In the event of an emergency, like a child or parent’s medical emergency, the parent that wishes to modify the original agreement can file a petition with the court to request a change.

If there is not an emergency, the parent wishing to change the original parenting plan can modify the plan through mediation, arbitration or counseling. The original parenting plan should include language to guide the accepted procedure for modification. If not, a parent can generally file a petition with the court along with a revised parenting plan to request a modification.

How will the court decide to approve or reject the proposed modification? Generally, the court rules in the best interest of the child. The best interest of the child is a legal standard that takes a variety of factors into consideration. The goal of this legal standard is to develop an agreement that is most likely to ensure the child will flourish. The courts use this standard both for the original parenting plan determination and for the modification.

Factors taken into consideration can include the mental and physical health of the child and parents, the child’s wishes dependent upon the child’s age, adjustment to school and community and the interaction of the child with other members of the household.

Parents that wish to modify the parenting plan can take proactive steps to help better ensure success. An attorney experienced in child custody modification matters can review your situation and provide counsel.

Contact a Chattanooga Child Custody / Parenting Time Lawyer

Schedule a consultation with an experienced family law lawyer in Chattanooga, TN.