There are countless reasons why parents may not like their current parenting plan. Perhaps the Tennessee family courts drafted the plan years ago during a litigious separation, and everything in the plan is now outdated. Maybe the parents created the plans themselves collaboratively, but family circumstances have since changed significantly.
Whether you feel like your circumstances now allow for you to have more time with the children or you need to redistribute decision-making authority, you may soon need to head back to the Tennessee family courts for a modification hearing if you want those changes to be official.
You must file a motion to update your parenting plan
Updating your existing parenting plan requires that you ask the courts to make official changes. Although you and your ex can agree on those changes informally, you are at a legal disadvantage if you don’t go to court to make those updates official.
If you already agree about what needs to change, then you can file an uncontested modification hearing request. A judge will review the proposed changes and update your parenting plan if they believe your suggestions are in the best interests of the children.
If your ex does not agree with you that you deserve more time with the children or more say in what medical care they receive, then you may need to pursue a contested modification hearing. As in any litigated custody matters in Tennessee, what the judge determines will be best for the children will ultimately decide what changes they make to the parenting plan, if they make any at all.
A formal modification protects you
There are numerous ways that going to court to modify your parenting plan can help you. One is by giving you increased access to the children and more time with them. Another is that you protect yourself from vexatious enforcement efforts by your ex. They could contact the police and claim that you have not returned the children despite your verbal agreement to change your custody schedule.
Finally, increasing the amount of parenting time that you have could actually decrease how much child support the courts require you to pay. Understanding the possible impact of updating your parenting plan can help motivate you to finally file that paperwork.