Maintaining a healthy, stable environment is the cornerstone of an effective child custody arrangement
Divorce significantly impacts both parents and children. A dramatic shift in family dynamics is a complicated transition which all parties must learn to live with. Establishing a child custody and parenting plan is only the first step in creating a new reality after divorce. Everyday life changes such as new job, income changes or living situations necessitate an analysis of whether an existing custody arrangement is still effective. The Murfreesboro family law attorneys at Pate & Knott assist numerous families with child custody modifications predicated on a variety of unique situations. Whether you are seeking or defending against a proposed modification, we are ready to help you resolve conflicts and reach a solution that works for you and your family.
A simple change in circumstances does not automatically guarantee a change to an existing parenting plan
Tennessee law dictates how and when a modification to an existing parenting plan may be applicable. A custody modification is only considered when there is a material change in circumstances, on the part of either parent or the child, which is supported by a preponderance of the evidence. A material change in circumstances can be many different things including:
- The failure of either parent to follow the court-ordered custody and parenting plan
- The child's particular needs as they evolve over time, including age-related changes
- The parents' unwillingness to communicate or make joint decisions about the child
Usually, any material change that negatively impacts the child's welfare or does not support the child's best interest warrants a custody modification.
Proposed modifications in the custody arrangement must be in the child's best interest
Whenever the court makes a child custody or support determination, the best interests of the child are always the primary concern. If a parent petitions for a modification and proves a material change in circumstances exists, the court still weighs several factors to determine if a modification is appropriate. These factors include, but are not limited to:
- Each parent's willingness to foster a stable and positive relationship with each other.
- Whether the modification contributes to a stable and healthy environment for the child.
- Each parent's ability to provide for the child, including educational, medical and living needs.
- The child's own wishes if he or she is of a sufficient age and maturity.
Simply experiencing a change in circumstances does not allow you to stop following a court-ordered parenting plan. Failing to comply and willfully interfering with an existing arrangement can lead to significant consequences. If you believe your current custody and parenting plan arrangement is no longer feasible, consult one of our experienced Murfreesboro family law attorneys for advice and assistance to ensure your case is handled properly.
Trust our experienced Murfreesboro child custody modification attorneys to protect your rights and your family
Advocating for your family's best interests is our primary goal at the law firm of Pate & Knott. We serve clients in Rutherford County, Lincoln County, Cannon County, DeKalb County, Bedford County, Smith County, Williamson County and Wilson County from our Murfreesboro office. Contact us online or call us at 615-848-1221 to schedule an initial consultation.