Temporary Parenting Plan in Tennessee

24 April 2012 Categories: All Blogs, Family Law and Divorce

Divorce cases in Tennessee often last for a year or two when they are contested. Many people ask us who is responsible for the care of the children before the divorce is final. The answer is that a Temporary Parenting Plan must be established. If possible, we encourage our clients to attempt to agree to a reasonable plan outside of having to go to Court. Unfortunately in many contested divorce cases, an agreement cannot be reached for a variety of reasons. When the Court gets involved in determining the Temporary Parenting Plan, the biggest factor is always going to be what is in the best interest of the minor children. The statute below helps to guide the Court in divorce cases with minor children:

T.C.A 36-6-403.  Requirement of and procedure for determining temporary parenting plan. 

  Except as may be specifically provided otherwise herein, a temporary parenting plan shall be incorporated in any temporary order of the court in actions for absolute divorce, legal separation, annulment, or separate maintenance involving a minor child. A temporary parenting plan shall comply with those provisions for a permanent parenting plan under § 36-6-404(a) that are applicable for the time frame and shall include a residential schedule as described in § 36-6-404(b). The court shall approve a temporary parenting plan as follows:

   (1) If the parties can agree to a temporary parenting plan, no written temporary parenting plan is required to be entered; or

   (2) If the parties cannot agree to a temporary parenting plan, either or both parties may request the court to order dispute resolution. The court may immediately order the parties to participate in dispute resolution to establish a temporary parenting plan unless one (1) of the restrictions in § 36-6-406(a) exists. If dispute resolution is not available, either party may request and the court may order an expedited hearing to establish a temporary parenting plan. In either mediation or in a hearing before the court each party shall submit a proposed temporary parenting plan and a verified statement of income as defined by title 36, chapter 5, and a verified statement that the plan is proposed in good faith and is in the best interest of the child. If only one (1) party files a proposed temporary parenting plan in compliance with this section, that party may petition the court for an order adopting that party’s plan by default, upon a finding by the court that the plan is in the child’s best interest. In determining whether the proposed temporary parenting plan serves the best interests of the child, the court shall be governed by the allocation of residential time and support obligations contained in the child support guidelines and related provisions in chapter 5 of this title.

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