Family time after changing parenting plan

Modification of Parenting Plans

Parenting Plans Modification

“What happens when circumstances change, and my parenting plan is no longer workable for my child and my ex?” At MHPS, we get asked this question often. Modifying parenting plans can be complex, and require a careful consideration of the facts. Our experienced child custody lawyers provide high-quality legal services to those who need assistance with child custody and visitation schedules in Tennessee.

Father after meeting with child custody modification lawyer

Parenting Plans in Tennessee: What You Should Know

If you’re going through a divorce and children are involved, Tennessee law requires you to reach an agreed parenting plan, or have the Court determine one for you. This legal document contains a child custody and support plan negotiated by the parents. It will lay out the child custody arrangement, the residential parenting schedule, and parenting time for holidays and school breaks.

Mother after a consult with a parenting plan modifications attorney

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.

Like a child support modification, you can modify the parenting plan after the divorce.

Mom with daughter after modification of parenting time

Although you may be able to work out day to day minor changes to the parenting schedule outside of 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. Of course, parents can always reach an agreement to modify the parenting plan, rather than having a Court make that determination. If the parties can agree on a modified parenting plan, the Court will review the plan to ensure it is in the best interests of the child and approve the modification.

How Our Tennessee Child Custody Lawyers Can Help

For decades, the Nashville child custody lawyers at MHPS 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 MHPS now to learn more.