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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