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How do Tennessee courts define parenting plans?

In the U.S., there are many parents who are either divorced, are in the process of getting a divorce or are contemplating a divorce. Parents understand how critical the issue of child custody and visitation are. To make it more civilized, courts in Tennessee prefer to refer to child custody and visitation rights as parenting plans.

To understand the concept of a parenting plan in Tennessee, a parent needs to understand how the courts define this particular term. According to the Tennessee Courts website, a parenting plan is a way for separated parents to ensure that a child is provided with all feasible comforts, even after the parents are separated. The plan acknowledges the importance of the involvement of both parents in a child's upbringing and encourages a healthy parent-child relationship. Every aspect of a parenting plan is targeted to ensure the best interests of the child.

Drafting of a permanent parenting plan is an important step toward ensuring the well-being of the child. A well-crafted parenting plan can eliminate conflict between separated parents and preserve the sanctity of a parent-child relationship. Along with that, a comprehensive parenting plan enables both parents to remain equally involved in making major decisions pertaining to the child's day-to-day life, religious upbringing, education and medical care.

A parenting plan is a conscious effort by Tennessee courts to move away from the stringent concepts of child custody and visitation rights. It places the emphasis on the concept of parenting responsibilities. The overall goal of a parenting plan is to minimize hostility between parents and to encourage them to work together with the best interests of their child in mind. The parenting plan, however, varies from case to case as circumstances for every family differ.

Most parents would agree that spending sufficient quality time with their child is among of the most satisfying moments in a person's life. However, due to the unique set of challenges that life creates after a separation, it often becomes difficult for separated parents to spend quality time with their children. In such a situation, parents may choose to take some time and understand the entire parenting plan concept to ensure that they do spend quality time with their children and in the process, help protect their best interests.

Source: TNCourts.gov, "About the Parenting Plan," Accessed on Aug. 2, 2014

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