As part of the divorce process, courts will require you to come up with a parenting plan to address child custody issues. A parenting plan will typically contain details of the custody arrangement, including how much time the child will spend with each parent, how the child will be transported from one house to the other, and how the parents will make decisions regarding the child.
However, the parenting plan you first agreed to may not work in the months and years following the finalization of your divorce. For example, one parent may discover they need to relocate due to a new job. Other common reasons to seek modification include:
- Change in job schedule for one or both parents
- Abuse or neglect of child
- Change in child’s needs due to age, health, etc.
- Change in one or both parents’ mental or physical health
In such cases, Tennessee parents can seek a modification of the parenting plan by first requesting a mediation, where you and the child’s other parent will attempt to resolve the issues outside of court with the help of your attorneys and a mediator. If the mediation is successful, the parties can submit their modified plan to the court for approval. If the mediation fails, the parent seeking modification can file a petition for modification with the court.
Not all life changes warrant a modification
Courts always put the needs of the child first when determining whether to make changes to a parenting plan. Generally, the parent seeking the modification will need to show that the change of circumstances is material in nature and that the change occurred after the parenting plan order was entered by the court. They will also have to show that the change will serve in the best interests of the child. If the court finds that a modification is needed, the current order will be modified accordingly.
Parents may have a difficult time filing for modification without the help of a attorney. An attorney can review your case and determine whether your circumstances warrant a modification in your parenting plan.