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Nashville Child Custody Lawyer

Affordable service from an experienced, accessible attorney

Divorce forces parents to make difficult decisions regarding the care of his or her children. In addition to dissolving their marriage, divorcing couples must agree on days the child will be with each parent, division of holidays, summers and school breaks, health and life insurance, child support and other important matters.

A parent’s goal in a child custody dispute should not be to win. Only the child should win. Your child wins if both parents respect and treat each other with civility at all times in matters dealing with exchanging the child, future conflicts and even financial responsibilities. This is truly an area of the law where I advise my clients to treat their spouses as they wish to be treated. Your child will benefit.

When preparing for a custody trial as part of a divorce or action to change custody following a divorce decree, you need an attorney who is familiar with the individual practices of the courts, knowledgeable of the law and easily accessible to answer questions throughout the stressful weeks leading to litigation. This is especially true if you have reason to request sole or full custody instead of shared or joint custody, or if you have concerns about child support obligations. While some courts employ standard parenting times, judges enjoy wide latitude in tailoring a parenting schedule that suits a child’s age, extracurricular activities and lifestyle. The court also considers the parents’ work schedules, their proximity to each other’s residences and other persons who may be living in the home of a parent.

Some factors the courts consider in determining a child’s primary residential custodian are:

  • The age and day-to-day needs of the child
  • Who has acted as the child’s primary caretaker in the past
  • Lifestyle habits of either parent who would make that parent unsuitable
  • If a parent is likely to foster a good relationship between the child and the other parent
  • What is in the child’s best interests

At your initial free consultation, I am happy to discuss the details of your case in relation to the factors used by the courts to render decisions. I present you with sample parenting plan forms as you begin to develop a proposal you consider to be in your child’s best interests. I go through mediation and settlement negotiation. If necessary, I go through trial preparation and the steps of your case with you. I advise you on proof issues, likely outcomes and any other concerns you may have.


When the parents are not married to each other, custody and child support are determined through a paternity action filed in juvenile court. The court usually orders DNA tests to prove paternity. The parties may seek to work together through mediation to arrive at a parenting plan or have a hearing and let the judge decide. The name of the child can be changed as part of the paternity order and the father’s name inserted on the child’s birth certificate.

Once paternity is established, a father has the same rights as a mother to seek primary care of his child. Many fathers obtain equal parenting time. Each parenting schedule depends on the proof presented to the court regarding the parent’s fitness, the child’s best interests and the feasibility of the plan.

Can nonparents get custody of a child?

In some cases, a grandparent, aunt, uncle or even a nonrelated third party seeks custody of a child in juvenile court if the child is abandoned or neglected and needs a proper guardian. Consultation with an experienced child custody lawyer before filing a petition and going to court is important, as there are certain rights parents have superior to nonparents.

Useful resources

Call on Karen Cain

Contact The Law Office of Karen Cain for experienced, efficient, cost-effective representation on all family law issues. Deciding which attorney is right for you should not cost you money. Therefore, all initial consultations are free. I will answer your questions, evaluate your case and give you an estimate of fees. My Nashville office is easily accessible by public transportation and local interstates.

Karen Cain, Attorney at Law serves clients in the metro-Nashville Davidson County area and all middle Tennessee counties.


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