Category Archives: Questions & Answers

What is a Tennessee Parenting Plan?

Attorney’s Harold E. Rushton and T. Leigh Hearn-Rushton handle quite a number of divorce actions in Davidson County and the surrounding Metro Nashville area.  In doing so, we advise clients everyday regarding their rights during a divorce action.  These rights include division of marital property, parental rights and a number of other areas that are typically addressed during a divorce action.   By far, the most important part of a Tennessee divorce action involving minor children, is the Permanent Parenting Plan.

In a Tennessee divorce action, the parties have a number of issues to negotiate.  A Parenting Plan may be entered as an agreement of the parties to a divorce action or it may be a determination of the Court (Judge) handling the divorce action.  Generally, as with other issues in a divorce, coming to an agreement as to the terms of a Parenting Plan is better than refusing to do so and having a Judge decide for you.  For purposes of this article, we will discuss an agreed Parenting Plan.

So, what is a Parenting Plan? A Parenting Plan is ultimately the rulebook that the parties will follow regarding their children, post-divorce. Without the Parenting Plan, arguments over who will have the children for the holidays, who will pay child support, who will pay for daycare, etc. would be a nightmare and likely a never ending battle until the child or children reach the age of majority.

Generally, a Parenting Plan addresses all aspects dealing with all minor children of a marriage.  Those issues include child support, parenting time, who will be primarily responsible for the children and how much time each parent will have with the children.  As you can see, this is a very important part of the divorce process and should be taken very seriously during the negotiations process.  This is a part of the divorce process where an experienced family law attorney can assist in protecting your rights and help to craft a Parenting Plan that will be in the best interest of your minor children.

It seems one of the first things we hear from clients in divorce actions is a question regarding who will be paying child support and how the amount of child support is determined. In a Tennessee Divorce, there is a pretty straight forward answer to that question. Child Support is determined based upon the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines. When we are attempting to determine a child support obligation, we simply obtain proof of income from each parent, determine how many days per year the child(ren) will be with each parent and collect proof of any potential offset, such as work related childcare costs, children’s health care costs, etc. This information is then input into the Child Support Calculator and the presumptive child support obligation is determined.

You may think this all seems pretty simple as you are already acting as the primary parent to your minor children.  However, things may not be as simple as they seem.  Unfortunately, sometimes a major factor in these cases is the amount of child support that one parent will be ordered to pay the other parent.

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Legal Questions and Answers


fullsizerenderHarold E. Rushton, Esq. is a Nashville, Tennessee based Divorce, Separation and Criminal Defense Attorney serving Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Dickson and Wilson Counties.  Call The Rushton Law Firm, PLLC  Phone:  (615)576-0071 or (615)815-9967


Call today for a FREE consultation (615)576-0071 or (615)576-0071

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Divorce – Questions and Answers

divorceWe frequently receive questions from people that are either in the process of divorce or are soon to begin a divorce.  We have decided to share some of those questions and answers here for those of you that may benefit from this information.

Here’s a question that we recently received and answered:

Can a wife claim abandonment in TN if husband has not lived at home for 1 month?

“Wife of 6 yrs has become addicted to drugs and children were removed from the home as a result. Husband moved out of home as well after being told by family court he should not allow the children to have contact with their mother until she fulfills treatment. The home has been under Chapt. 13 bankruptcy for over 2 yrs. Wife has been a stay at home mother for 1.5 yrs. She is now threatening to file for spouse abandonment to have husband’s wages garnished in order to keep the home as residence and provide herself with income. Husband has bank statements and records showing he has provided income to her while he has been absent from the home. The situation has been ongoing for just over 1 month.”

By Harold E. Rushton,  Attorney at Law

You have posed some interesting questions regarding divorce and separation. First, the answer to your main question is no. One month is an insufficient period of time to establish abandonment grounds for divorce in Tennessee.  The law in Tennessee states the parties must reside separate and apart for at least (2) two years to establish abandonment grounds for divorce in Tennessee.

The facts as you have presented them do provide potential grounds for divorce of which the husband could raise.  Those grounds are drug addiction by the wife.  Under Tennessee law, habitual drunkenness or abuse of narcotic drugs of either party, when the spouse has contracted either such habit after marriage are sufficient grounds for divorce.

If the husband is the primary parent, once he files for divorce, he may file a pendente lite action to seek support from the wife if she is failing to contribute support to the minor children and the burden is solely his to support the children. Whether relief is granted will depend upon his and her earning power, assets maintained by each party, etc. Those are all fact specific and must be determined by the court after hearing all of the facts of the case.

You really need to seek the advice of an attorney regarding this matter.  Here at The Rushton Law Firm, PLLC, we focus on divorce and separation so we can guide you through this process and help to protect your rights along the way. I hope that I have been helpful in answering your questions. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you should have any further questions.  We are located here in Davidson County, Tennessee and are happy to assist any time. I wish you all the best in the outcome of your case.


Harold E. Rushton, Esq. is a Nashville, Tennessee based Divorce, Separation and Criminal Defense Attorney serving Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Dickson and Wilson Counties.

The Rushton Law Firm, PLLC  Phone:  (615)576-0071 or (615)815-9967

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