Answering Child Custody Questions
At the law firm of Shipley & Swain, our attorneys often field questions about our clients’ child custody concerns. The following are some of the frequently asked questions we encounter. It is important to remember that everyone’s situation is different and nothing can replace the type of advice you receive from meeting personally with a qualified lawyer. To schedule a consultation, call our law offices in Knoxville at 865-419-0480.
What is a permanent parenting plan in Tennessee? A permanent parenting plan outlines each party’s obligations regarding the custody and care of their children. It spells out parenting responsibilities, a visitation schedule and, if necessary, child support obligations.
It’s permanent. So that means it can never be changed? The law is not that heartless and inflexible. Either parent may seek a modification to a permanent parenting plan if there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Usually, modifications are sought if a parent is wishing to move out-of-state or a significant distance away, although other circumstances may also require a change to a parenting plan.
Do the children get any say in custody determinations? It depends. The court will consider the children’s age and level of maturity when it comes to their opinions. Even if the court decides to factor in the children’s preference, it is not the only factor that will apply. Other considerations will be weighed as well.
My ex is not making child support payments. Can I stop him or her from seeing our children? Not without a court order. The law recognizes that children benefit from having a relationship with both parents, and issues involving child support should be kept separate from custody issues. It is best to avoid using children as a type of bargaining chip. There are other means of enforcing an order for child support, and you should never take action on your own without first consulting with an attorney.