Life is rarely static, especially for parents who are divorced. Sometimes a parent with custody of the child wishes to modify the established parenting schedule. This can sometimes cause problems if the modification would affect the parenting schedule established in the parents’ divorce decree. The following is a brief overview of the laws in Tennessee regarding the post-divorce modification of a child custody order.
A material change in circumstances
Under Tennessee law, the parent wishing to modify the child custody order has the duty of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that there is a material change of circumstances that affects the child’s best interests. This does not mean that the parent needs to show the child would suffer a substantial risk of harm.
Examples of a material change in circumstances
Some examples of a material change in circumstances include, but are not limited to:
- Changes to the child’s age significantly affecting the child’s needs;
- Significant changes in the parent’s living or work situation that would have a significant effect on their parenting;
- A parent’s failure to comply with the parenting plan; and
- Other situations that make a modification of the parenting plan in the best interests of the child.
Ultimately, the child’s best interests will be the standard by which child custody decisions are made.
Learn more about child custody in Tennessee
Parents, even if they are divorced, generally want what is best for their child. A parenting plan that worked well when the parents initially divorced may not work so well years down the road. When this happens, a parent may want to modify the standing parenting plan, but any changes must be in the best interests of the child. This post is for informational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those who want to learn more about child custody in Tennessee are encouraged to explore our firm’s website for further information.