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When can one modify a parenting schedule in Tennessee?

There are many things that change throughout Tennesseans' lives. Many people have plans for where they want to be in five years or 10 years, but oftentimes those plans change. Certain things are not in our control, which can lead to unexpected changes. This is true when raising children as well. Although these issues can affect married and unmarried couples alike, divorced couples may need to modify parenting plans to accurately reflect life's changes.

When divorced parents see their children is oftentimes governed by a parenting plan with a schedule for the parents and children. Ideally the parents can work through changes as they arise, but they may not always be able to come to an agreement. When this is the case, one parent may need to petition the court to modify a parenting plan.

In order to do this the parent seeking the modification must demonstrate two things. The first is that there has been a material change in circumstances. The other is that the requested change is in the best interests of the children.

These are both very fact-specific requirements, though. However, a material change in circumstances generally includes significant changes in the needs of the child, significant changes in one of the parent's work schedules or living conditions, failure by one parent to follow the parenting plan, and other circumstances which demonstrate that it is in the best interests of the child to modify the parenting plan.

Predicting the future is a difficult task. This may be especially true when it comes to raising a child. As a result, sometimes parenting plans need to be modified to fit the current situation. These decisions are based on the unique facts of the particular situation. As the law can be challenging in this field, experienced attorneys may be a useful resource to those facing child custody and visitation issues.

Source: FindLaw, "Tennessee Code Title 36. Domestic Relations § 36-6-101" accessed on March 5, 2018

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