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Legal Information: Tennessee


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Laws current as of November 27, 2023

What rights do I have to my child when s/he is spending time with the other parent?

As long as the judge believes that it is in the child’s best interest to do so, custody orders can include the following “rights” that a parent must have when the child is spending time with the other parent. The custody order can include that you, and the other parent, have the right to:

  1. not have the other parent make insulting or offensive remarks about you or your family to the child or in front of the child;
  2. uninterrupted telephone conversations with your child:
    • at least twice a week;
    • at reasonable times; and
    • for a reasonable length of time;
  3. know a telephone number where your child can be reached;
  4. send mail to your child without the other parent destroying it, opening it, or censoring it, and the other parent must give the child all of your letters, packages, etc., as soon as they are received;
  5. receive notice and relevant information within twenty-four hours or sooner, if possible, of any hospitalization, major illness or injury, or death of your child;
  6. receive directly from your child’s school any educational records that are usually made available to parents, including report cards, attendance records, names of teachers, class schedules, and standardized test scores. Also, the parent who enrolls the child in school must provide the name, address, telephone number, and other contact information for the school to the other parent if s/he requests it;
  7. be given at least forty-eight hours’ notice, whenever possible, of all extracurricular school, athletic, and religious activities where parental participation or observation would be appropriate. Each parent should have the opportunity to participate in the activities or observe them. Also, the parent who enrolled the child in each activity must advise the other parent of the activity and provide contact information for the person responsible for its scheduling so that the other parent can make arrangements to participate or observe unless this would be prohibited by a court order, such as a protection order;
  8. receive copies of your child’s medical, health, or other treatment records directly from the treating physician or healthcare provider. Also, the parent who arranges for medical treatment or health care must provide the name, address, telephone number, and other contact information for the physician or healthcare provider to the other parent if s/he requests it;
  9. reasonable access and participation in the child’s education on the same basis that are provided to all parents, such as the right to see the child during lunch and other school activities, as long as it does not interfere with the school’s day-to-day operations or with the child’s educational schedule; and
  10. receive from the other parent information about trips where the child is leaving the state for more than forty-eight hours, including the planned dates of their departure and return, the places they will be going, the form of travel, and a contact telephone number.1

1 TN ST § 36-6-101(a)(3)(A), (a)(3)(B)