Tennessee Court Records
Where To Find Family Court Records In Tennessee?
Tennessee Family Court Records refer to official reports and documents generated during the family court proceedings in the state. These records are available for copying and inspection according to the Tennessee Open Records Act. The 95 Juvenile and Family Courts are responsible for keeping and providing access to family court records. Essentially, the processes of locating and copying family court records vary from one county to another. As such, the first step in obtaining these records is to contact the appropriate county court clerk to ascertain the local court guidelines.
The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care in order to make changes in the future. The personal nature of these records results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.
What Is Family Law In Tennessee?
Family laws in Tennessee are a set of rules governing legal obligations between persons who share domestic connections. The major issues resolved under Tennessee family law are termination of a marriage, division assets or properties, and prevention of emotional or physical abuse. Tennessee Code Title 36 focuses on the state’s family law in the following sections:
- Chapter 1: Adoption
- Chapter 2: Parentage
- Chapter 3: Marriage
- Chapter 4: Divorce and Annulment
- Chapter 5: Child Support and Alimony
- Chapter 6: Custody and Visitation
- Chapter 7: Visitation Act and UDPC (Uniform Deployed Parents Custody)
What Are Family Court Cases And Records In Tennessee?
Family court cases in Tennessee are lawsuits relating to domestic relationships, such as divorce/annulment, child custody, and visitation issues, abortion, or adoption. While the chancery court resolves divorce cases, the juvenile and family court in Tennessee resolves other matters like child custody and parentage. The clerks of these courts create, maintain, and disseminate family court records to interested persons. Cases that are resolved under the family court system in Tennessee are:
●Divorce: This involves the dissolution of marital unions
●Parentage: This involves a child’s civil arrangement with a biological parent, or a parent’s obligations and responsibilities to an adopted child
●Custody and Visitation: This involves a child’s paternal responsibility or guardianship
●Child support: Also known as child care, child support are steady payments made to a child by a parent after a marriage involving the child is severed
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
● The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
● The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
Are Family Court Cases Public Records In Tennessee?
Pursuant to the Tennessee Open Records Act, family court records are regarded as public records and should be accessible by members of the public. Nevertheless, not all information is available for copying and inspection. General details such as names of the record holders involved in the case, location of the court, and date of judgment can be obtained by contacting the clerk of court. Other sensitive information including personal details, juvenile records, financial records, alcohol test details, and documents revealing domestic violence victims are restricted from public view.
How Do I Find Family Court Records In Tennessee?
Generally, the Circuit Court Clerk of the county where the family case was resolved is responsible for keeping family court records in Tennessee. As such, interested persons are expected to contact the clerk directly to obtain copies of Tennessee family court records. While the local court requirements differ from one county to another, Tennessee court clerks accept mail and in-person requests for family court records. Some circuit courts also allow electronic access to these records. Because of the sensitive nature of family court records, requesters may be required to provide picture identifications before the records can be released to them.
Divorce and marriage records may be available through government sources and organizations, though their availability cannot be guaranteed. This is also true of their availability through third-party websites and companies, as these organizations are not government-sponsored and record availability may vary further. Finally, marriage and divorce records are considered extremely private due to the information they contain, and are often sealed. Bearing these factors in mind, record availability for these types of records cannot be guaranteed.
How Do I Find Family Court Records Online?
Tennessee State Judiciary does not operate a central repository of all trial court records generated in the state. As such, these family court records are primarily available at the county level. Family cases appealed to the appellate level courts may be available via the Case Search System provided by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Counties such as Shelby and Nashville feature independent online platforms where locally-generated court records can be viewed remotely.
What is Tennessee Custody Law?
Custody law in Tennessee is defined underTenn. Code Ann. § 36–6–106. The law is very similar to that of other states in the US, as nearly every state has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). According to § 36–6–101, some factors that are considered before a Tennessee family court can make custody decisions include:
- The wishes and interests of the child provided that they are above the juvenile age
- The child’s wellbeing within the new residence, school, and community; and if the transition would threaten their stability
- The readiness of the child to adapt to school, environment and residence
- The capacity of the family to provide for the welfare of the child (schooling, religious instruction, nutrition, shelter, Medicare)
- The parenting abilities and commitment of the guardians to promote and maintain a healthy relationship between the child and the spouse
- Parents’ history of domestic violence, child abuse, failure or drug addiction
- The ability of the guardian to cooperate with a new agreement for custody or visiting plan
- Evidence presented by any group, or by the court itself, who can attest to what is ideal for the child
The factors determining the type of custody that will be awarded to either parent in a child custody case must be in the child’s best interest. The courts are also mandated by the Department of Child Services to provide caregivers with details relating to available resources and assistance.
How To Find Family Court Lawyers In Tennessee?
In Tennessee family court cases, involved persons may represent themselves provided that they can agree to each other’s terms. However, it is important to hire an attorney to save the time and cost of research. Besides, unnecessary mistakes can be avoided with the help of a lawyer. A Plaintiff/Defendant may use the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) to find qualified legal practitioners in Tennessee. This service is provided by the Tennessee state bar and it can help individuals;
- Know if it is necessary to hire a lawyer,
- Find the cost of hiring a lawyer in Tennessee
- Find the estimated duration of the family court case
The LRS is a 30-minute phone consultation available in three major regions: East Tennessee - (865) 522 7501; Middle Tennessee - (615) 242–6546; and Southeast Tennessee - (423) 756 3222. With a small fee, users find the nearest family court lawyer in Tennessee. There are Legal Aid Services in Tennessee for persons who cannot afford the cost of legal representation.