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Knoxville Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Child Custody > Teenagers Have a Right to Voice Their Wishes About Time Sharing with Divorced Parents

Teenagers Have a Right to Voice Their Wishes About Time Sharing with Divorced Parents


When a couple that has young children together divorces, they agree on a parenting plan, which the court requires them to follow.  It determines which parent has the children on weekdays and weekends, as well as holidays and vacations when school is not in session.  In theory, parenting plans last until a child reaches adulthood and graduates from high school, and modifying them requires the court’s involvement.  Most modifications are because of a change in the parents’ circumstances; perhaps one parent has changed jobs and needs to change his or her parenting time to accommodate the new work schedule, or perhaps one parent has moved to a different county, and the only way to resolve conflicts over responsibility to transport the children from one parent to the other is to set out the rules formally in a modification of the parenting plan.  Sometimes, though, it is the children whose circumstances change; the details of a parenting plan written when the children were babies might not apply when they are in high school.  If you need to modify a parenting plan, contact a Tennessee child custody lawyer.

Kids Grow Up So Fast

Parenting plans written by the parents of young children usually take the parents’ schedules and preferences as the deciding factor.  For a toddler, a weekday is the same as a weekend, except perhaps with regard to whether the child goes to daycare.  It is easy for the parents of a young child to divide their parenting time evenly in half, alternating weeks or transferring the child from one parent to the other on Wednesdays and Sundays.  Children’s schedules become less flexible when they start school, and the older the children get, the less time they have to spend with either parent.  Homework, extracurricular activities, and even employment take up an increasing amount of the teenage children’s time on evenings and weekends.

Details of the Kennedy Case

Phillip and Jane Kennedy divorced in 2011, when their children Casey and Clayton were teenagers.  At first, they were given equal parenting time, but by the end of 2011, the parenting plan had been modified so that Phillip was the primary residential parent, and the children spent 125 years with Jane.  The parents battled frequently in court over the next few years, about issues ranging from modification of child support obligations to requesting psychological evaluations of each other.  By 2016, Clayton was 17; Phillip had requested that Jane’s parenting time be reduced to 80 days per year, because in reality, that was all the time she spent with Clayton.  Jane responded that she tried to spend all 125 days with him, but that Clayton and Phillip had cancelled some of her visits.  The court interviewed Clayton, and he said that he wanted to keep the parenting plan which had him spending 125 days per year with his mother.

Contact Us Today for Help

A family lawyer can help you modify a parenting plan if your children have outgrown it.  Contact Knoxville child custody lawyer Patrick L. Looper for a consultation.


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