The Burdette
Law Firm
Lawyers: Germantown - Memphis, TN.
(901) 756-7878
in Germantown
(901) 756-6433
in Memphis

Memphis Lawyer
Child Custody

Tennessee courts are required to make all child custody decisions based upon the best interest of the minor child. When courts determine child custody issues, the judge is required to do a comparative fitness test based upon a number of custody criteria. At The Burdette Law Firm, we view all child custody cases as unique, and our we are committed to do our best to obtain your desired result for child custody.

Child Custody Basics

Tennessee no longer uses the word custody; the current legal terms are Primary Residential Parent (PRP) and Alternate Residential Parent (ARP) The PRP is the parent with “primary custody” and the ARP is the parent with “visitation.” Tennessee courts are required to name a PRP, and are also required to maximize the number of days with the ARP. The court’s decision as to the PRP is generally made based on which parent has been the primary care giver to the minor children. The number of days that court awards to the ARP is often determined by the parent’s work schedules. The law requires that the determination of PRP and ARP be made based upon the best interests of the child.

Initial Custody Determination

At the initial custody determination, the judge is required to perform a comparative fitness test. The court looks at numerous legal factors, compares the fitness of each parent to the other parent. The court is required to name the parent with whom the children will reside most of the time, and determine a residential schedule for the other parent. The court will then construct a Permanent Parenting Plan which will cover all issues regarding the minor children.

Modification of Permanent Parenting Plan

Modification of a Permanent Parenting Plan (PPP) is usually more complicated than the initial custody determination. A PPP can be modified by agreement of both parents. If the other parent will not agree to modify the residential schedule, the court can modify the PPP if there has been a material change of circumstances and the modification is in the best interest of the minor children. Before the court will modify an existing PPP, Tennessee law requires that you and the other parent go to mediation. If the court finds that there has been a material change of circumstance and that the change directly affects the best interests of the minor child, the court is required to modify the PPP in such a way as to maximize the best interest of the minor children.

Hire An Experienced Child Custody Lawyer

At The Burdette Law Firm we have the knowledge, training and experience to handle all contingencies that may arise. Our compassion and commitment during a child custody matter will help your family get to a better place by reducing the stress of a child custody case.


Further reading if you are in Memphis and contemplating a family law matter.

Tennessee Divorce Information

Tennessee Divorce Mediation Process

Tennessee Child Support Law

Tennessee Child Adoption Law


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