If you co-parent a child, you likely have an official Parenting Plan that dictates many of the terms and conditions relating to your child and how you co-parent your child. For a variety of reasons, you might want to change something in your Parenting Plan. To get advice applicable to your unique circumstances, you should consult with an experienced divorce attorney. In the meantime, a Murfreesboro divorce lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby offers general information relating to how to change a Parenting Plan in Tennessee.
What Is a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan is a document that addresses issues relating to parenting a child when the parents are not living together. Tennessee law requires a Parenting Plan to be included in any final decree or decree of modification in an action for absolute divorce, legal separation, annulment, or separate maintenance involving a minor child shall. Some of the topics that should be included in a Parenting Plan include:
- Decision-making authority.
- Conflict resolution between the parents.
- Parenting time schedule.
- Child support.
- Payment for health insurance, childcare, and extra-curricular activities.
Of course, a Parenting Plan can include additional topics and be more detailed than what the law requires; however, basic parenting issues are required to be covered in the plan. Ideally, the parents negotiate the terms of the Parenting Plan and submit the final plan to the court for approval. If the parents cannot reach an agreement regarding any of the terms of the Parenting Plan, a court will create the plan or settle disputed terms. Once the plan is approved by the court, the terms of the Parenting Plan are considered orders of the court and must be followed by both parents.
Can a Parenting Plan Be Changed in Tennessee?
Whether because you did not agree to the terms of your Parenting Plan when the plan was accepted by the court or because something has changed since the plan was approved, you may now find yourself in a position where you want to change your Parenting Plan in Tennessee. The good news is that it is possible to change a Tennessee Parenting Plan. Exactly how difficult it will be to change your Parenting Plan depends on what part of the plan you want to change and whether the other parent has agreed to the changes.
What Steps Are Required to Change a Parenting Plan?
Changing anything but the Permanent Residential Parent (PRP) can be accomplished by agreement or by showing the court that there has been a change in circumstances that warrants the change. Of course, all decisions made by a judge that involve children must use the “best interest of the child” standard as well.
If the change you are requesting will modify who the PRP is, a more difficult standard is used. In that case, you must show that there has been a change in circumstances that materially affects the child’s well-being.
If you are just asking for a modification of the current child support order, review the current Tennessee Child Support Guidelines to see if there has been a significant enough change in your finances or the finances of the other parent to warrant a modification of child support.
If you decide to move forward with a request to change your current Parenting Plan, you must file a petition with the court having jurisdiction over the plan. The other parent must be served with a copy of your petition and will have the opportunity to respond. If you have already reached an agreement with the other parent, that agreement can be filed simultaneously with the petition. If there is no agreement, the court will set the matter for a hearing to decide if granting the requested change(s) is in the child’s best interest.
Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyer
If you have additional questions about changing your Parenting Plan in Tennessee, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro divorce lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the team at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.
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