Parenting Plan Modification
Permanent Parenting Plans are only permanent if neither party ever does anything to change it. If your child or children are very young when the Permanent Parenting Plan is entered, either in a divorce or in a custody action, then chances are good that you’ll need a modification at some point before they reach adulthood. Sometimes the other party is willing to work with you, and may wish to attend mediation rather than returning to court. In fact, sometimes your plan may require you to attend mediation first. If the other party won’t go, there are ways to ask the court to order the other person to go.
If mediation is not a viable option, or was unsuccessful, a family law attorney can help you prepare your case and get in front of a judge to ask for the changes that you want to see, whether it’s a change in the schedule, the primary residential parent, or something as simple as tweaking the transportation arrangements. If your situation changes making the plan unworkable, or if you wish to relocate for work or a new spouse, or if the other party is simply non-compliant, call our office to discuss your potential options.
Perhaps your ex-spouse or co-parent is accusing you of contempt for failing to follow the court’s order in some respect. They will likely file a motion or a petition for contempt. There are two kinds of contempt, civil and criminal. With civil contempt, they petitioner is looking for some restitution or strict compliance, usually money. With criminal contempt, your freedom is in jeopardy, because they’re asking the court to order jail time for your alleged noncompliance. Perhaps the two of you disagree about what the language means. Maybe there’s good reason why you were unable to follow the court’s order and you need the court to understand that reason. If you’re accused of contempt, either civil or criminal, you should talk to a family law attorney to discuss the likely consequences of a contempt case, and your best defense.
There are very specific requirements in Tennessee regarding the relocation of parents. This is such a significant issue that there is an entire portion of the Permanent Parenting Plan forms that is dedicated to the correct process to go through when a parent wishes to relocate more than fifty miles from the other parent or out of the state. Parental Relocations are very fact intensive and time sensitive. Whether you are the parent that wishes to relocate, or the parent trying to contest the relocation of the other parent with your children, you should consult with a family law attorney to make sure that, as a potentially relocating parent, you meet the required criteria for providing notice, or meet the deadlines for filing opposition if you are the parent wanting to contest the relocation of your children with the other parent.
Enforcing the Court’s Orders
So you have your Marital Dissolution Agreement and your Permanent Parenting Plan. That’s the easy part. But now let’s say that for whatever reason (new boyfriend or girlfriend, disrespect for the court’s authority), the other party will not comply with provisions in either the Marital Dissolution Agreement or the Permanent Parenting Plan. Often, there are items within the Marital Dissolution Agreement or the Permanent Parenting Plan that will specify what can be done to enforce the court’s order. Because every case is different, you should consult with a family law attorney to discuss the possibility of returning to court to obtain some sort of recourse for the other party’s noncompliance.
There are four different types of alimony, and they each have their own characteristics. Whether you are the payor spouse who wishes to modify the alimony downward due to a changed circumstance in either your ability to pay or the payee’s need, or the payee spouse who wishes to defend an alimony modification petition, a family lawyer can determine what factors will be relevant for a court to consider when deciding whether to modify the award of alimony. As a family law attorney and a certified divorce financial analyst®, Ms. Miller can discuss with you potential tax treatment of any modification.