Phillips & Ingrum

Developing a Parenting Plan: Part 4

By Grayson Cannon

Phillips-Ingrum-Headshots-15_finalDeveloping a Parenting Plan: Part 4 of a 4 Part Series

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Going to court can be very time consuming and expensive.  Therefore, in the event of a disagreement or dispute that may require modification of the permanent parenting plan the law encourages alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or arbitration to avoid the necessity of lengthy, costly litigation.  This is optional.  Alternative dispute resolution is recommended, but a party should not agree to it unless they are sure that is what they want to do.  Generally, if the parties agreed to alternative dispute resolution, then the court will order it to be attempted before allowing the parties to come back to court.

Standard Parenting Rights

Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-6-101 lists nine (9) rights of the parents.  The list of rights of parents are common sense things that many parents were requesting over and over again in the courts, therefore the Tennessee Legislature codified these rights in this statute.  These rights are for mothers and fathers, primary residential parents, and alternative residential parents.  In other words, they are mutual rights of the parents.  They will be enforced equally for the benefit of both parents.

Notice of Parental Relocation

Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-6-108 governs the notice to be given in connection with the relocation of a parent.  Basically, this statute states that if a parent desires to move outside the state of Tennessee or more than fifty (50) miles from the other parent within the state of Tennessee, then the relocating parent must send written notice to the other parent by registered or certified mail.  The written notice must be at least sixty (60) days prior to the move, and the notice must contain the following: 1) Statement of intent to move; 2) Location of the proposed new residence; 3) Reasons for the proposed relocation; and 4) Statement that the other parent may file a petition in opposition of the move within thirty (30) days of receipt of notice.

Parent Education Class

Both parents are required to attend a parent education class that explains to parents the effects of divorce on children.  Further, the class encourages parents to learn to work together to co-parent the children even though the parents are getting divorced.  If a parent fails to attend this parent education class, then they can be punished by contempt of court.


The bottom line is this.  Your children are the most important issue in your divorce.  You should always try to make decisions based on your children’s best interest.  If you do that, then you should stay in the good graces of the court.  Don’t use your children as pawns or bargaining chips against your spouse.  Don’t try to turn your kids against the other parent.  Be the adult in a tough situation and always put the children first. Your children will thank you for it in the end.