When discussing family law and child custody, the rights of the parents are often restricted in favor of the “best interests of the child.” Courts do, however, give great deference to the rights of the natural parents. A family court in Australia recently issued a judgment showing just how much that court respect parental rights.
As reported here, the Family Court in Hobart, Tasmania, heard a visitation/custody case wherein the father of the two girls involved has been convicted on three charges involving child pornography. The court did order some concessions, in light of the convictions: the girls must share a bedroom in the home until the younger reaches the age of fourteen, the father must have an adult guest stay overnight if his daughters are staying overnight, and the girls must have a lock on their bedroom door in order to keep their father out.
We are unaware of any similar cases in Tennessee, but the scenario that played out in Australia is certainly possible in this state. I think most people are surprised by this result – certainly, very few family law attorneys would expect a court to order overnight visitation to a father convicted of sexual crimes involving a child. The compromise reached in Tasmania is an interesting solution to the issue and reflects the strength of parental rights, whether right or wrong.
Parental rights in Tennessee are an important consideration in custody and visitation cases. If you are involved in a custody or visitation case, you should consult an attorney to ensure that your rights are represented. For more information on parental rights and other family law issues, click here.