Tennessee offers divorcing couples an option to share in the parenting of their children instead of following traditional court-ordered custody and visitation decrees. By creating a parenting plan, two ex-spouses can participate equally in the responsibilities of raising their kids.
According to Tennessee’s Administrative Office of the Courts, both parents may provide their input to decide on a child’s health care, religion and education. If a marriage ended because it ran into problems when compromising, a parenting plan may serve as a guide for how ex-spouses can resolve issues concerning their children.
Planning for a child’s best interests
The U.S. Census Bureau notes that approximately 25% of children live in households without a biological father or stepdad. Tennessee’s courts recognize the importance of fostering healthy parent-child relationships; each divorced parent has the right to take an active role in raising his or her children.
To create a parenting plan, divorcing couples negotiate an agreement outlining how often they may each spend time with their children. Couples who live near each other may consider creating a living arrangement that coincides with their work schedules. Children may stay with one parent during the week and with the other parent during weekends. This may also reduce the need for childcare services.
Deciding how to cover the costs of a child’s upbringing
As noted by U.S. News & World Report, a family court judge generally divides child care expenses based on each parent’s income. Parenting plans, however, may enable the parents to determine how to divide expenses for raising children and paying for their activities.
Tennessee’s family courts have the authority to enforce a couple’s parenting plan as part of their divorce decree. A parent who violates an agreed-upon plan, however, may face legal consequences including contempt of court.