The importance of living arrangements in custody decisions

| Jul 25, 2018 | Family Law

Are you negotiating for shared custody of your children during your divorce? Or maybe you’re seeking a modification to your current custody order to get more time with your kids. If the case goes before a judge, one things he or she will look at is what kind of home you can provide your children while they’re with you.

Judges don’t expect non-custodial parents (or custodial ones for that matter) to have a mansion with massive flat-screen TVs, pools and multiple computers. However, the judge will look at whether or not your living accommodations are appropriate for your children while they’re staying with you.

For example, older children generally need more space and privacy than younger ones. If you have two grade schoolers, they can likely share a room more easily than a teen and a toddler.

If the kids are of the opposite sex of the parent, the judge may want to ensure that they have their own bedroom and bathroom. If there are multiple kids, a judge will likely want to make sure that they all have an appropriate place to sleep. That likely doesn’t include a fold-out sofa.

A judge will also consider the children’s safety, both inside and outside the home. If you live on a busy street or in a neighborhood where drug deals are regularly made on the corner or gunfire is a common occurrence, a judge may limit your children’s overnight visits.

The only time that a particularly small home or apartment may be an issue is if the kids are used to living in a large home with their custodial parent. A judge may consider whether alternating between drastically different living conditions is healthy. Of course, some kids are just happy to be with their non-custodial parent whenever possible and don’t mind having more cramped quarters than they’re used to.

The most important consideration by the courts is the children’s well-being. That’s why it’s important to make a strong case that you’ll do everything possible while your children are with you to keep them happy, safe and comfortable. Your Tennessee family law attorney can help you protect your custodial rights and present a strong case.

Costner & Greene Attorneys at Law

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Maryville, TN 37804

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