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As of January 1, 2001, the concept of custody disappeared from most of Tennessee’s law books. This was a direct result of our new parenting plan legislation. As understanding of this law evolves, every judge and family law attorney across the state will for years to come struggle with its interpretation. To many clients dissatisfaction, the exact answer to a particular question may not exist until a Judge rules on the issue.

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The Tennessee court may award child custody to either parent, or to both parents in the case of joint custody or shared parenting based on the best interests of the child, taking the following factors, among others, into consideration: the emotional ties, love, and affection between the parents and the child, the ability of the parents to provide adequately for the child, the quality of the child's adjustment to the present environment, including the home, school, and community, provided there is no evidence of child abuse, and the parenting abilities of each parent, including their willingness to encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.

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