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Changes in Tennessee’s parental custody laws

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- New changes to Tennessee’s Parental Bill of Rights affect any parent who shares custody of a child with their ex-husband or wife.

It's especially crucial to understand these changes now that school has started for many families. Family law attorney Justin Thomas joined us on Live at 9 to explain.

Changes to the law in Tennessee essentially gives equal rights to both parents, no matter which is the primary custodial parent.

The change is designed to enable co-parenting, so both parents can be involved in their child's life.

Now non-custodial parents can access school records or just visit their child at school.

Before the change, there was confusion about whether non-custodial parents were allowed either.

The custodial parent needs to ensure the school knows about the non-custodial parent, and must also give the non-custodial parent notice of things like extracurricular activities.

As with anything else, there are exceptions. Those are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Thomas is with Thomas Family Law, which is located at 6263 Poplar Ave., Suite 900. You can reach them at (901) 537-0010.


    • Whitney F

      My husband and the mother of his daughter were never married and he has these rights. I don’t know if this helps but it was already written in the custody papers that he has access to everything that has to do with her and her school.

  • blahblah

    If never married a father has no rights in memphis ..except right to pay child support even if the mother is a self confessed drug addict..still means nothing ..arrested AGAIN 10 days ago court order to return child 8 days later..pretty sure someone called this place a circus not long ago(no names given) pretty sure hes right!!!!!!!!!!

  • me

    I am so glad that my new wife and I went through adoption proceedings for my child. Her birthmom was a complete deadbeat and the child is a lot better with no legal binding with her.

  • bri

    What if your legually married in ms and the father hasn’t been around but the state takes child support out and he wants to sign over rights?..how do you go about all that?

  • Lesley

    What if the non -custodial parent hasnt seen his kids on 7 yrs. not phone calls no birthday cards nothing. but he doesn pay child support. why would he have these right now when he is a dead beat dad that doesnt care about his children? as far as im concerned…he gave up his rights years ago.

  • Terrie

    I dont get it. All this does is give more rights to parents that want nothing to do with thier kids to have more rights to do MORE of nothing for thier kids. MY advise: Stop having kids!!!

  • PMonahan

    Wow…………almost every other state is moving towards a day when a rebuttable presumption of joint custody, and here are you people complaining about a child having more access to his father. You are complaining this is about children’s rights, not parents rights…yet none of you seem to be talking about the child’s right to have both parents in their lives. To not be stuck in a system geared towards making money for the state by making one parent the custodial parent and the other nothing more than a visitor who pays money, but has no chance of being a parent. BTW, 85% of the time that visitor is the FATHER. EIGHTY FIVE PERCENT. States make money by making situations that call for custody payments. Judges make money. Lawyers make money. Women make money. Feminist groups make money. The only people not making money are the child and EIGHTY FIVE PERCENT OF THE TIME the dad. If you are against joint custody unless the child is in danger or one parent lives a long ways away….you are selfish. You are thinking about money. YOU ARE NOT THINKING ABOUT YOUR CHILD.

    • whitedemonsandblkfools

      Amen i know someone just TODAY that the wife who abandoned the home and gets a check no custody arrngment still legally married goes to fathers house which is sons legal address with cops and the cops make the son leave with the mother

    • isabellaspeaks

      Yeah, okay. How about the situations where the dad chooses to not be around if it means the mom will enforce child support? Or the situations where the child is going for visitation with their father but spends the entire time with the grandparents because the father wants to do anything but spend time with his child? Or the father who shows up only when it’s convenient for him. How bout giving some credit to the moms who never say no to the dads showing up when it isn’t their weekend? Or the moms who can barely make ends meet and can’t get the court ordered amount of child support out of the deadbeat dads? Or let’s even talk about the dads who refuse to find better insurance for their kids! Or the ones that refuse to pay half of the kids medical bills! But then they go around and talk smack about the mom. The dads that want their kids, fight for their kids. Point, blank, period. But yeah, let’s give these jerks more rights than they deserve. Right on!

  • jeremy

    I like this law. too many times you hear of cases that the father wants to be in the child’s life, yet the mother uses the child to “get back” at the father by limiting access. Especially in non marriage cases.

  • Diddo

    Well you really won’t have to worry about this new law if you live in Memphis.. Memphis Juvenile Court. plays by their own rules.. its like beimg in a three ringed circus down there. Rules are created according to how the coury jester (the magistrate) feels that day..

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