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Information for divorcing Tennessee parents with minor-aged children

| Jul 12, 2016 | Child Custody and Visitation

If you are a parent who is facing divorce, you are likely to have many questions and concerns about issues related to child custody. In Tennessee, family law judges aim to make custody decisions based upon what they believe to be in a child’s best interests. Increasingly, judges recognize the important role that both mothers and fathers play in providing for a child’s emotional and financial needs and many, therefore, favor some form of joint or shared custody.

What is the Tennessee Parenting Plan Law?

Enacted in 2001, the Tennessee Parenting Plan Law seeks to ensure that the best interests of minor-aged children are respected and provided for during and after a divorce. Under the law, parents are encouraged to work together to make decisions about parental responsibilities with the ultimate goal of establishing a road map for how parents plan to raise and provide for their child’s current and future needs.

What is included in a Tennessee Parenting Plan?

A Permanent Parenting Plan Order includes information and details related to the following child-rearing responsibilities:

  • Specific days that the child will be in the physical custody and care of each parent
  • Custody terms for holidays, school breaks and summer vacations
  • Specific details related to the time and location of child custody exchanges
  • Responsibilities of each parent with regard to day-to-day and major decision
  • Child support amounts to be paid
  • Designation of federal income child tax exemption
  • Parental responsibility for child’s health and dental insuranceDetermination of how to resolve future custody disputes

Can a Tennessee Parenting Plan be amended?

A main goal of the Tennessee Parenting Plan Law is to establish a parenting plan that provides for a child’s best interests including his or her sense of safety and security. With this in mind, changes to existing parenting plans are typically only granted when there has been a major change in either a parent’s or child’s life circumstances.

Examples of when it may be appropriate and necessary to seek a modification to an existing parenting plan include:

  • Change in parent’s employment status
  • Relocation of parent
  • Parent’s drug or alcohol dependency
  • Allegations of child abuse
  • Parent’s criminal arrest and/or conviction
  • Parent’s military deployment

If you’re facing divorce, providing for your child’s safety and wellbeing is a top priority. In a divorce, matters related to child custody are often highly emotional and can quickly become contentious. By turning to a family law attorney who handles divorce and child custody matters, you can learn more about your rights and options and gain the information and insight you need to make decisions that will ultimately benefit your child and family.


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