Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Being right on the stateline of Tennessee and Mississippi can create some interesting legal disputes on custody. Mississippi is what I call a free for all on custody, i.e. absent a court order to the contrary either natural parent has the right to the child and whoever has them, has them. Tennessee is a little different as there is a statute dealing with nonmarial children where absent a court order to the contrary, custody is with the natural mother. Withholding the child can result in a charge of custodial interference in Tennessee. The interesting issue develops when mom runs to Tennessee with no court order and the child has previously lived in Mississippi. This inevitably leads to an interjurisdictional conflict where the courts have to confer with each other to determine jurisdiction. These cases can get terribly complicated and expensive. On the flip side, withholding the child may have an effect on the parenting skills of a parent in a custody analysis which I have had courts go along with in the past.