What Is the “Standard” Parenting Plan in Tennessee?

What Is the “Standard” Parenting Plan in Tennessee?Divorces can be emotionally and legally complicated, and their far-reaching effects often cast a shadow over the most vulnerable members of the family: the children. After a divorce in Tennessee, parents will share responsibilities for their children. To make it a more seamless process, a parenting plan is written.

However, one of the challenges that has been observed in custody cases in Tennessee, and in many other places, is the unequal distribution of time spent with children by fathers. While there are laws in place to help parents keep some sense of normalcy in their children’s lives, like Tennessee Code § 36-6-401, sometimes post-divorce parenting can still prove to be a challenging journey.

Custody disparities in Tennessee

Statistically, fathers tend to receive less parenting time than mothers in custody arrangements. It’s actually the national average that the mother receives about 65% of custody time while the father receives about 35%. Unfortunately, the state of Tennessee is significantly lower than that, with fathers receiving only about 22% of parenting time overall.

While the state aims to promote shared parenting and equal time-sharing whenever possible, the reality often falls short of this goal. This discrepancy highlights the need for a fair and equitable approach to parenting plans that considers both parents’ involvement and fosters a healthy parent-child relationship for the child’s well-being. Working with an experienced Franklin child custody attorney can be instrumental in achieving this goal.

What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan document outlines how parents will continue to raise their children and also helps navigate the often-complex terrain of co-parenting after a divorce or separation. It essentially lays down the ground rules for how decisions will be made regarding the child’s welfare, including custody arrangements and visitation schedules.

It serves as a vital tool to minimize conflicts between parents by providing a clear and structured framework for parenting duties and decision-making. This clarity helps ensure that the child’s best interests are at the forefront. Additionally, a well-constructed parenting plan can offer stability and predictability in the child’s life during a time of significant change and emotional upheaval.

What makes a parenting plan “standard”

The approach to parenting plans is fundamentally rooted in the promotion of shared parenting responsibilities. The state recognizes the importance of both parents actively participating in their children’s lives post-divorce or separation. This approach aims to create a supportive environment that nurtures the child’s well-being and development, even in the midst of family changes.

In Tennessee, a “standard” parenting plan format exists which provides a structured framework for parents to follow. It typically covers crucial aspects such as custody, visitation schedules, and decision-making responsibilities. The use of this standard format is to ensure that both parents will cooperate and keep their child’s best interests at heart while keeping a consistent schedule.

Parents can sometimes stray from the standard format

While the standard parenting plan serves as a baseline, there are instances in which deviation from this template is possible. The law acknowledges that every family is unique, and certain circumstances may require adjustments to the standard plan. For instance, parents may need to adapt the plan to accommodate specific work schedules, school holidays, or the child’s unique needs. However, any deviations from the standard plan must still prioritize the child’s well-being and adhere to legal requirements.

Including parenting plan provisions

Popular parenting provisions can be included in the plan to address specific family dynamics and concerns. These provisions often relate to matters such as communication between parents, methods for resolving disputes, or the exchange of information about the child’s education and health. By customizing the parenting plan with these provisions, parents can tailor their arrangements to better suit their family’s needs and promote a harmonious co-parenting relationship.

Clarity, consistency, and specificity are all important aspects of a parenting plan, as they help minimize potential conflicts by leaving little room for misinterpretation. Covering key topics like how to handle exchanges, what to do if you can’t make a scheduled visit, and bringing new relationships into the mix are all better off including in your parenting plan rather than waiting until the situation arises.

Basic, common, and popular visitation schedules in Franklin, TN

Visitation schedules play a pivotal role in parenting plans in Franklin, determining when and how children spend time with each parent. These schedules vary in complexity, allowing parents to choose what best suits their family dynamics.

Basic visitation schedules provide a straightforward approach, often involving alternating weekends. In this arrangement, one parent typically has custody during the week, while the other parent enjoys parenting time during the weekends. While simple, this schedule allows children to maintain regular contact with both parents while having a stable weekday routine.

Common visitation schedules introduce a bit more flexibility. Examples include the 2-2-3 and 3-4-4-3 arrangements. The 2-2-3 schedule involves one parent having custody for two days, the other parent for two days, and then three days with the first parent. This pattern repeats, ensuring equal time for both parents. Similarly, the 3-4-4-3 schedule means one parent has custody for three days, followed by the other parent for four days, and vice versa. These arrangements provide more balanced time-sharing and are suitable for parents who seek greater flexibility in their schedules.

Popular visitation schedules encompass a wide range of possibilities, often involving holiday rotations and extended summer visitation. Holiday rotations ensure that both parents have the opportunity to spend significant holidays with their children. Extended summer visitation allows one parent to have an extended period of custody during the summer months, providing a more extended bonding opportunity for both parents and children.

Ultimately, the choice of visitation schedule depends on the unique needs and circumstances of the family. It’s essential to select a schedule that promotes stability, consistency, and the best interests of the children involved.

In the often challenging and confusing journey of determining your parenting plan after a divorce in Tennessee, proactive steps are essential to safeguard your precious time with your child. At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, our team is experienced with  cases just like these. We are dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of the legal system and achieve the best possible outcome for your family. Schedule a consultation today by calling us or filling out our contact form. We proudly serve parents like you in Franklin, Brentwood, Columbia, and throughout Middle Tennessee, providing the guidance and support you need.

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