The Importance Of Parenting Plans

If you are ever involved in a child custody dispute in Tennessee, you may find yourself wondering, "Exactly, what is a parenting plan?"

In simple terms, a permanent parenting plan is a written plan that outlines your parental responsibilities, decision-making authority and residential schedule with your child. If you are going through a divorce, legal separation or annulment and children are involved, your final decree must incorporate a parenting plan.

At the Thomas Family Law Firm, PLC, we understand the toll that child custody disputes can take, both physically and emotionally. This is one reason why our attorneys focus solely on helping families address family law issues. Contact our Germantown office today by calling 901-443-4599, or reach out to us online. With lawyers licensed in both Tennessee and Mississippi, we can help you resolve your child custody issue.

What Is In A Parenting Plan?

Under Tennessee law, a parenting plan will:

  • Establish a residential schedule, which is essentially a schedule of when a child will be living with each parent on any given day, including weekends, school vacations, holidays, birthdays and other special events. The schedule must also designate a primary residential parent, which is the parent the child lives with for more than 50 percent of the time.
  • Establish parental responsibilities, including decision-making authority related to the child's religion, education, health care and extracurricular activities. In most cases, both parents can make day-to-day decisions regarding the child's well-being while the child is living with him or her or otherwise under his or her care.
  • Establish procedures for resolving parental disputes.
  • Outline child support obligations, if awarded.

If you and your child's other parent are unable to reach an agreement regarding a parenting plan, you will likely have to first attempt to mediate your dispute before the court will hear your case.

However, once the court is involved, its primary concern when determining a parenting plan and custody arrangement is the child's best interests. It may examine many factors when coming to its decision, including the existing relationship between the child and his or her parents, the relative ability of the parents as well as the child's preference, but typically only if the child is 12-years-old or older.

While the information above pertains solely to Tennessee law, we can also help if your custody dispute involves Mississippi law. Contact the Thomas Family Law Firm, PLC, today if you have questions.