Keep up with legal news and topics of interest.

Modifying a Court-Ordered Parenting Plan

January 11, 2023

Making Parental Plan Changes Isn’t as Simple as it Sounds

At Hagar and Phillips, our attorneys encounter clients who are looking to make a change to their current parenting plan. These changes are usually due to trying to obtain more time to spend with their children. Modifying a court-ordered parenting plan is more complex than just requesting more time. There can often be many obstacles to modifying a court-ordered residential parenting schedule. Examples of barriers could include the other parent who may oppose the changes. Additionally, there may be concerns about how changes in the parenting schedule could affect the children.

Petitioning the Court for Parenting Plan Changes

Suppose a parent seeking to exercise more parenting time with their children cannot get the other parent to agree to their request. In that case, a petition must be brought in court to modify the parenting plan and grant the additional requested time. In the case of a parent who petitions a court to change a Court-ordered parenting plan in the state of Tennessee, the petitioning parent must prove by a preponderance of the evidence to the Court that there has been a material change in circumstance affecting the child’s best interest that justifies the modification.[1] This is just one step in the two-step analysis for a shift to occur.

Circumstances for Modifying a Court Ordered Parenting Plan

Under Tennessee law, several circumstances may be used to support a petition to modify a parenting plan based on a material change in circumstances affecting the child’s best interest. Some of the events which meet the standard for a material change in the case for this purpose include changes to the needs of the child over time, including changes related to the child’s age; significant changes in a parent’s living or working conditions that affect parenting; and even failures to adhere to the previously ordered parenting plan.[2] Additionally, other circumstances that change the residential parenting time in the children’s best interest can be used to support a modification petition.[3]

The second step of this analysis is to demonstrate that the proposed change is in the best interest of the minor children. Check out our blog post here to learn more about how a court determines what is in a child’s best interest (here).

Contact a Trusted Family Law Attorney

If you are considering a Court-ordered parenting plan, we can help. An attorney will meet with you to talk about your specific circumstances and let you know how a modification might be possible. You can speak with the best attorney in Lebanon, TN, for more information about parenting plans. Contact Hagar & Phillips for a confidential consultation at 615-784-4588.

Additional Parenting Plan Resources

[1] T.C.A. § 36-6-101(C).

[2] Id.

[3] Id.


The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.