Determining the Best Interests of the Child - Tennessee

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Citation: Ann. Code § 36-1-101(d)

In all cases, when the best interests of the child and those of the adults are in conflict, such conflict shall always be resolved to favor the rights and the best interests of the child, which interests are hereby recognized as constitutionally protected, and, to that end, this part shall be liberally construed.

Citation: Ann. Code § 36-1-113(i)

In determining whether termination of parental or guardianship rights is in the best interests of the child pursuant to this part, the court shall consider, but is not limited to, the following: 

  • Whether the parent or guardian has made such adjustment of circumstance, conduct, or conditions as to make it safe and in the child's best interests to be in the home of the parent or guardian 
  • Whether the parent or guardian has failed to effect a lasting adjustment after reasonable efforts by available social services agencies for such duration of time that lasting adjustment does not reasonably appear possible
  • Whether the parent or guardian has maintained regular visitation or other contact with the child 
  • Whether a meaningful relationship has otherwise been established between the parent or guardian and the child
  • The effect a change of caregivers and physical environment is likely to have on the child's emotional, psychological, and medical condition 
  • Whether the parent or guardian, or other person residing with the parent or guardian, has shown brutality; physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological abuse; or neglect toward the child or another child or adult in the family or household
  • Whether the physical environment of the parent's or guardian's home is healthy and safe, whether there is criminal activity in the home, or whether there is such use of alcohol, controlled substances, or controlled substance analogues as may render the parent or guardian consistently unable to care for the child in a safe and stable manner
  • Whether the parent's or guardian's mental and/or emotional status would be detrimental to the child or prevent the parent or guardian from effectively providing safe and stable care and supervision for the child
  • Whether the parent or guardian has paid child support consistent with the child support guidelines

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