Law Office of David L. Scott

What Happens When a Couple Cannot Agree on Custody?

If you and your ex cannot agree on the terms of a parenting plan for your children, the judge will set a parenting plan after making findings at trial about the children’s best interests.

A well-designed parenting plan can help you and your ex-spouse have a harmonious co-parenting relationship and avoid causing unnecessary stress for your children. Of course, finalizing a parenting plan is not always easy. On the one hand, you understand that co-parenting is not about winning or losing. It has been decades since the courts have spoken of awarding custody of minor children to only one parent after divorce. Despite this, you cannot know how painful the idea of spending every Thanksgiving without your children is until you see it on paper in a court order. Tennessee law requires all parents who are seeking a parenting schedule, including couples in the process of divorce as well as unmarried couples who do not live together but who have a child together, to attend mediation and attempt to draft a parenting plan. If the parents cannot agree on parenting time and other parenting plan issues, the case goes to trial, and the judge decides how the children will divide their time between the parents. Judges have some discretion  about parenting time based on their individual judgment, not on a mathematical formula, but they must follow the legal guidelines about basing their decisions on the best interests of the children. A Murfreesboro family law attorney can help you if you and your ex cannot agree on a parenting plan, and now your case is going to trial.

How Do Parenting Plans Work?

A parenting plan is a court order that governs all the non-financial aspects of parenting for divorced and unmarried parents; the court cannot calculate child support without first referring to the parenting plan to see how many days per year the children spend with each parent. It also addresses transportation responsibilities and decision-making authority regarding the children’s education, extracurricular activities, and non-emergency medical care. Most former couples can come to an agreement about their parenting plans during court-ordered mediation. In some families, it is obvious what kind of parenting schedule would be least disruptive for the children and the parents.  Sometimes, though, the parents reach an impasse, or one spouse vetoes all the suggestions just to be difficult.

How Do Judges Make Decisions About Parenting Time?

At trial, the judge can set a parenting plan based on each parent’s requests and on the court’s findings about the children’s best interests. Tennessee law recognizes more than a dozen factors that contribute to children’s well-being, including consistent school attendance and medical care, a home environment free from violence and drug use, and spending time with each parent on a regular basis. The judge may ask teenagers to give their opinions about a parenting schedule that is conducive to their school success and healthy relationships with their parents and siblings.

Contact a Murfreesboro Parenting Plan Lawyer Today

A family law attorney can answer your questions about parenting plans and co-parenting. Contact David L. Scott in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, or call (615)896-7656 to set up a consultation.

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Our focus is on helping you get through your legal troubles. With more than 25 years of experience, we are committed to getting the best legal outcome for you. Contact today for a free case evaluation. We look forward to hearing from you!