Unless there is a history of abuse or neglect, it generally benefits your child to spend time living in both parents’ homes after a divorce or the end of a romantic relationship. If you and your child’s other parent decide to co-parent together in Tennessee, creating a parenting plan offers benefits for both of you – and for your child, too.
Per the Tennessee Courts, a parenting plan gives you and the other parent a chance to put your plans and expectations for raising your shared child in writing, which serves several distinct purposes. First, it helps all of you adjust to new living and co-parenting arrangements. Second, it helps you and your ex avoid many common arguments by setting clear terms to which you both agree to adhere. Most Tennessee parenting plans outline the terms of your parenting time agreement, and most also include the following.
An allocation of decision-making responsibilities
It may serve you well to have your parenting plan outline who has the authority to make decisions on your child’s behalf and when. For example, you might agree that both parents have to come together when a decision is medical, educational or serious in nature.
A plan for handling future disagreements
While one of the benefits of a parenting plan is that it helps eliminate many arguments before they start, a solid plan should also address how you and your ex are going to handle it when a future disagreement does arise. For example, maybe you agree to work with a third party whose job it is to help you work through your issues.
This is just a brief sampling of what you might include in your parenting plan. In general, the more specific your plan is and the less it leaves open to interpretation, the better.