Custody Determination and the Permanent Parenting Plan
Throughout Tennessee, courts are often tasked with rendering an initial child custody determination regarding one or more minor children between parents. These custody decisions – which are ultimately enshrined in the law in the form of court orders issued by a Tennessee court of competent jurisdiction – may occur between parents regardless of whether they are married. At the conclusion of a case where child custody is at issue, the courts in Tennessee will enter a Permanent Parenting Plan, setting out the parenting schedule between both parents for their children, and making provisions for the payment of child support, health insurance, and other important matters pertaining to the parties’ child(ren).
Once a Tennessee court has made a child custody decision, a parent displeased with the custody decision can appeal. However, if there is a significant change in the circumstances surrounding the child custody decision such that the Permanent Parenting Plan needs to be modified in order to continue to serve the best interests of the child or children, then a parent may seek a modification of the Permanent Parenting Plan by a court of competent jurisdiction. Circumstances giving rise to a basis for modification are myriad and may include one or both parents relocating from the original jurisdiction where the child custody decision was originally made.