How Do You Show That You Deserve More Parenting Time?

How Do You Show That You Deserve More Parenting Time?In Tennessee, there are two types of custody. Legal custody affects long-term health and education decisions for your children. Physical custody determines which parent the child resides with and who supervises the child. Most parents share legal custody of their children and many parents share physical custody.

Tennessee law requires that the parents (if they can agree) and the judge (if the parents can’t agree) consider the child’s best interest and agree/or order “a custody arrangement that permits both parents to enjoy the maximum participation possible in the life of the child consistent with the factors” set out in the custody statute.

The agreement or order should do more than just say whether custody is shared or not. There should be a detailed plan or order that sets forth the precise parenting time for each parent and many related factors such as when and how your children are transferred to the other parent’s home. Many times, the initial custody arrangement is not satisfactory. A parent may wish to obtain joint custody if he/she only has visitation rights. A parent with limited parenting time (even if he/she has joint custody) may want more parenting time with the children.

To obtain a binding change in the parenting time schedule, you’ll need to seek a modification of the current custody arrangement by filing a formal motion with the aid of your family lawyer. Your spouse and/or the judge will often be more willing to agree to (or order) more time if you show an active involvement in your child’s life – and you show a continuing willingness to work with the other parent.

Some suggestions for expanding parenting time in Tennessee

Many of these suggestions should come naturally if you’re actively helping your child grow. Some tips may require showing that you’ve put any differences with your ex-spouse or the co-parent aside.

  • Don’t place the children in the middle of any disputes. If your ex-wife, ex-husband, or co-parent regularly bad-mouths you to your children, document these instances so you have a record of when they occurred and what was said. If you’re tempted to say negative things about your ex-partner – stop. Judges don’t like parents who use their children and who can’t rise above their anger and hurt.
  • Avoid discussing any conflicts in front of your children. Children of divorce or separation need stability. Many children already suffer anger and depression due to the breakup. Make sure that you speak about any necessary conflicts directly with your ex – by phone, email, or in person – out of the range of the children.
  • Show a willingness to create a united front with your ex-spouse or co-parent. Your ex and the judge want to see that you can work out solutions, so your child is hearing a common voice instead of two separate types of advice.
  • Use the parenting time you have to the maximum. Do your best to stick to the parenting plan, and spend your time with your children unless there is no other option (such as an illness). Take advantage of phone and email time when your child is with the other parent. Show that connecting with your child is your top priority.
  • Take an active role in your child’s life. Attend the parent-teacher meetings. Attend school plays and school activities. Know who your child’s teachers and friends are. Know how they’re doing in school. Help them with their homework. Take your child to the dentist or doctor.
  • Take a parenting class. This can help show you’re willing to learn and that you want to be a better parent.

At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, our experienced Franklin family lawyers understand that cases aren’t won just on the law. There are many practical lifetime factors that have to be considered. Skilled custody and parenting time lawyers understand what factors judges and ex-spouses consider and how those factors apply to your child. To talk about expanding your parenting time or any other child custody issue, please call our office at 615-977-9370 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We see family law clients in our Tennessee locations in Franklin, Columbia, and Brentwood.

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