The court approves a permanent parenting plan with the best interest of the children in mind. But what happens if circumstances change and you need to change the agreement? Is it possible to make a modification of parenting plans? It is possible to modify a parenting plan, but there are many complexities facing parenting plan modifications. Because of this, you need to go with an attorney with the experience and know-how to make sure the court accepts your proposed changes.
At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, we get asked this question often. Our experienced child custody lawyers provide high-quality legal services to those who need assistance with child custody and visitation schedules in Tennessee.
Parenting Plans in Tennessee: What You Should Know
If you’re going through a divorce and children are involved, Tennessee law requires you to create a parenting plan. This legal document contains a child custody and support plan negotiated by the parents. It will lay out the child custody arrangement, the parent visitation schedule, and parenting time for holidays and school breaks.
When the court is determining a permanent parenting plan, it considers all relevant factors in its decisions which include:
The child’s relationship with the parents.
The ability each parent has to provide for the child’s basic needs such as food, healthcare, and education.
Which parent will be the primary caregiver.
The parents’ willingness to perform parental responsibilities.
The mental and physical health of the parents.
If there is a history of abuse.
If the child is over the age of 12, the court may also consider the child’s preference on a custodial parent.
How to Modify a Parenting Plan
But what if circumstances have changed and the parenting plan no longer works? Is it possible to change the agreement? Depending on the situation, it is possible to change a parenting plan. However, if you want to modify a parenting plan, you will need to show that there was a material change in circumstances that makes it necessary.
Material Change in Circumstances
When a parent wishes to change the pre-existing child custody arrangement, he or she must prove there was a material change in circumstances. Simply, a material change in circumstance is anything that alters the conditions of the child’s life to such a degree that changes in custody need to be made.
Such examples of a material change in circumstances include:
A parent wishing to relocate with the child.
A parent becoming unfit to care for the child.
A parent becoming more capable of caring for the child, such as having a change in income, overcoming hardship, etc.
Change in work schedule.
Changes to the child’s needs.
A failure to abide by the original parenting plan by one or both parents.
Although changing a parenting schedule is a minor change in which you and your ex may be able to work outside a courtroom, modifying the custody arrangement is a different story. You will need to ask the court for a modification of custody and prove there was a material change of circumstances to qualify for the alteration. The court will need to reexamine the situation to assess whether a custody change is in the best interest of the child.
How Our Tennessee Child Custody Lawyers Can Help
For decades, the Nashville child custody lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC have helped clients across the state by modifying their permanent parenting plans. Providing evidence is key to a successful modification, and we will work with you to get the information needed to show an alteration is necessary.
If you are considering a modification to your permanent parenting plan, you’re going to need an experienced family law attorney to help you. Contact Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC now to learn more.