2021 Tennessee Code
Title 34 - Guardianship
Chapter 1 - Guardianships and Conservatorships Generally
§ 34-1-102. Parents as Joint and Equal Natural Guardians of Minors — Custody of Minors — Support of Minors Over Eighteen (18) Years of Age in High School — Property of Minor — Incapacity of Parents — Divorce — Commitment of Guardianship to County — Guardianship Instrument

Universal Citation: TN Code § 34-1-102 (2021)
  1. Parents are the joint natural guardians of their minor children, and are equally and jointly charged with their care, nurture, welfare, education and support and also with the care, management and expenditure of their estates. Each parent has equal powers, rights and duties with respect to the custody of each of their minor children and the control of the services and earnings of each minor child; provided, that so much of the net income of each minor child as may be necessary may be expended by a parent (without the necessity of court authorization) for the child's care, maintenance and education. Funds of a minor held by a guardian shall not be expended to relieve or minimize the obligation of the parent or parents to support the minor.

  2. Parents shall continue to be responsible for the support of each child for whom they are responsible after the child reaches eighteen (18) years of age if the child is in high school. The duty of support shall continue until the child graduates from high school or the class of which the child is a member when the child attains eighteen (18) years of age graduates, whichever occurs first.

  3. If either parent dies or is incapable of acting, the guardianship of each minor child shall devolve upon the other parent.

  4. If the parents of a minor child are divorced, the court may award the guardianship of the property of the minor child to the parent who, in the court's judgment, would best serve the welfare of the minor child and the child's estate. The parent appointed guardian of the child's estate may, but does not have to be, the parent with legal custody. The appointment of a parent as legal guardian does not affect the custodial decree of the divorce court except in those situations in which the guardianship of the minor or legal custody is committed to the department of children's services, in which case the order of the court having jurisdiction of the guardian proceedings or custodial proceedings under title 37 shall control.
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