2000 Mallory Lane Suite 130-386
Franklin, Tennessee 37067

1 (615) 472-8845

Parenting Plans

In a family law action involving a minor child (such as a divorce or legal separation) the parties will be required to enter into a Parenting Plan which sets forth the parameters of how and when the parties will exercise custody and control over their children.  The Parenting Plan can be reached by agreement or order of the Court, but in either case, must comport with the State’s statutory requirements.

Generally, a Parenting Plan will address such issues as:
  1. The child’s residential schedule on a day-to-day basis and on holidays;
  2. The individual parent’s decision-making authority regarding the child’s education, health care, extracurricular activities and religious upbringing;
  3. The individual parent’s financial responsibilities to provide child support, health care coverage, or other necessary expenses incurred by or on behalf of the child; and
  4. The resolution process to be used when custodial conflicts arise.
While the parties are encouraged to remain flexible and to consider reasonable compromises when enforcing the plan, if the parents cannot agree on a particular issue, the Parenting Plan provides a clear roadmap for determining each parent’s authority and responsibility.  In the event that there are material changes in the circumstances – such that the Parenting Plan is no longer in the child’s best interest – one of the parties may petition the Court to modify the plan.

If the parties are unable to agree to a residential schedule for their children, the Court will consider the following factors when entering its order:

  1. The parent's ability to instruct, inspire, and encourage the child to prepare for a life of service, and to compete successfully in the society that the child faces as an adult;
  2. The relative strength, nature, and stability of the child's relationship with each parent, including whether a parent has taken greater responsibility for performing parenting responsibilities relating to the daily needs of the child;
  3. The willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent, consistent with the best interests of the child;
  4. Willful refusal to attend a court-ordered parent education seminar may be considered by the court as evidence of that parent's lack of good faith in these proceedings;
  5. The disposition of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, education and other necessary care;
  6. The degree to which a parent has been the primary caregiver, defined as the parent who has taken the greater responsibility for performing parental responsibilities;
  7. The love, affection, and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child;
  8. The emotional needs and developmental level of the child;
  9. The character and physical and emotional fitness of each parent as it relates to each parent's ability to parent or the welfare of the child;
  10. The child's interaction and interrelationships with siblings and with significant adults, as well as the child's involvement with the child's physical surroundings, school, or other significant activities;
  11. The importance of continuity in the child's life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment;
  12. Evidence of physical or emotional abuse to the child, to the other parent or to any other person;
  13. The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent and such person's interactions with the child;
  14. The reasonable preference of the child if twelve (12) years of age or older.  The court may hear the preference of a younger child upon request. The preference of older children should normally be given greater weight than those of younger children;
  15. Each parent's employment schedule, and the court may make accommodations consistent with those schedules; and
  16. Any other factors deemed relevant by the court.
If you have any questions regarding how to enter, modify or enforce a Parenting Plan, please do not hesitate to call the number listed above, send an email, or use the contact form.
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