Tennessee parents starting the custody process often have many questions about what to expect. After filing your custody petition, you will be asked by the court to submit a parenting plan.
Child custody in Tennessee, as in many states, centers around what is in the best interest of your child. You and your co-parent probably have different ideas about this.
What is the point of a parenting plan?
The purpose of a parenting plan is to document what type of custody arrangement you believe is in your child’s best interest. Both you and your co-parent submit a parenting plan.
Once you have reviewed each other’s parenting plans, you will both be in a better position to understand the areas where you agree and disagree. Chances are, there will be at least some things that you agree on.
If your custody situation is contentious, this process can help reduce conflict. You can start with what you agree on and go from there.
What should I put into a parenting plan?
Your parenting plan is meant to cover every type of situation, rather than simply laying out a custody schedule. It should address legal custody, which is how major decisions are made for your child, and physical custody, which is who your child lives with and when.
Additionally, you may want a different custody schedule in the summer or have a specific idea about how you want to handle holidays. These can all go into your parenting plan.
Transportation for custody exchanges, preferred communication methods and how to handle school or other kinds of extracurricular activities are also topics that you can address in your parenting plan. If you have questions or are unsure of how to address certain topics, a custody attorney can help.
The benefits of a parenting plan
You may view your parenting plan as just one other requirement to be completed before going into custody court. However, putting time and effort into creating your plan and thoughtfully considering each issue can save you time, money and potentially the stress and conflict of custody litigation.