If you are going through a divorce in Chattanooga and you have children, you and your spouse are required to come up with a parenting plan. If you and your spouse can come up with your own parenting plan upon which you both agree, you can have it documented and submitted to the court for approval. If you cannot agree on a parenting plan, the courts will decide one for you. Therefore, it is helpful to understand Tennessee law on the matter of what the state expects to see in your plan.
If you are not familiar with what a parenting plan does, it is a detailed and written outline of how you and your spouse will share the duties, rights, and privileges of raising your children as divorced instead of married parents. Obviously, this will involve with whom the child mainly lives, a visitation schedule for time spent with the other parent, and a delineation of what decisions you are allowed to make concerning major life factors in your child’s life.
Need legal help coming up with a mutually-acceptable parenting plan? Call Conner & Roberts, PLLC at (423) 299-4489 to book a free, initial consultation.
What Does a Parenting Plan Require Under the Law?
Parenting plans are covered under Tennessee law 36-6-404 that states the requirements and procedure for determination of a permanent parenting plan.
Under this law, the plan must do the following:
- Take into consideration and provide for a child’s changing needs as the child grows up so as to minimize having to modify the plan later on.
- Delineate what the parents are responsible for in terms of making vital decisions concerning the child life, such as health care, educational, and religious upbringing decisions. It must also show that, in an emergency, both parents must have authority to act on behalf of the child.
- “Minimize the child’s exposure to harmful parental conflict.”
- Outline a route to resolve any parental disputes that arise; this process should be done by first sticking to the parenting plan before taking it up in court.
- Ensure that, while a child is with a parent, that parent will have the responsibility for making daily decisions about the fundamental care of the child.
- Require that the parent who has been ordered to pay child support provide his or her income and other required information to the other parent and the proper authorities.
- Stipulate that, if a parent’s driver license is invalid, he or she will provide appropriate transportation when needed for the child.
- Provide a visitation schedule for the child that is based on the child’s development and emotional needs; this schedule should foster the maintenance of a “loving, stable, and nurturing relationship” between parent and child.
Under the above law, if the parents fail to agree on a permanent parenting plan, the court can order some type of dispute resolution proceeding, such as mediation. If such a plan has not been agreed upon 45 days before a custody and visitation trial is due to begin, each side can file a proposed plan. If a parent fails to comply with such a plan, the court can then adopt the plan of the opposing party if it is in the child’s best interests.
How Conner & Roberts, PLLC Can Help
Although the above law may sound complicated, its rules are based on what is in the best interests of the child. If you and your spouse place your child’s best interests as your top priority, a permanent parenting plan can be negotiated and maintained. This may sound difficult at such a difficult and emotionally-challenging time. Our firm can help you move through the process, however, through sound legal advice, support, and negotiation skills. We have helped countless individuals reach mutually-acceptable agreements on all divorce-related issues in Chattanooga.