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TENNESSEE COMPILATION OF SELECTED LAWS ON CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES, 2011 EDITION

TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED

Title 36 Domestic Relations

Chapter 6 Child Custody and Visitation

Part 4 Parenting Plans

36-6-407. Allocation of parenting responsibilities.

(a) The court shall approve agreements of the parties allocating parenting responsibilities, or specifying rules, if it finds that:

(1) The agreement is consistent with any limitations on a parent's decision-making authority mandated by § 36-6-406;

(2) The agreement is knowing and voluntary; and

(3) The agreement is in the best interest of the child.

(b) The court may consider a parent's refusal, without just cause, to attend a court-ordered parental educational seminar in making an award of sole decision-making authority to the other parent. The court shall order sole decision-making to one (1) parent when it finds that:

(1) A limitation on the other parent's decision-making authority is mandated by § 36-6-406;

(2) Both parents are opposed to mutual decision making; or

(3) One (1) parent is opposed to mutual decision making, and such opposition is reasonable in light of the parties' inability to satisfy the criteria for mutual decision-making authority.

(c) Except as provided in subsections (a) and (b), the court shall consider the following criteria in allocating decision-making authority:

(1) The existence of a limitation under § 36-6-406;

(2) The history of participation of each parent in decision making in each of the following areas: physical care, emotional stability, intellectual and moral development, health, education, extracurricular activities, and religion; and whether each parent attended a court ordered parent education seminar;

(3) Whether the parents have demonstrated the ability and desire to cooperate with one another in decision making regarding the child in each of the following areas: physical care, emotional stability, intellectual and moral development, health, education, extracurricular activities, and religion; and

(4) The parents' geographic proximity to one another, to the extent that it affects their ability to make timely mutual decisions.

(d) When determining whether an agreement allocating parenting responsibilities is in the best interest of the child pursuant to subdivision (a)(3), the court may consider any evidence submitted by a guardian ad litem appointed for the child, if one has been appointed by the court, subject to the Tennessee rules of the supreme court relative to guidelines for guardians ad litem appointed for minor children in divorce proceedings and the Tennessee rules of evidence.

Acts 1997, ch. 557, § 1; 1998, ch. 1098, § 71; T.C.A., § 36-6-411; Acts 2000, ch. 889, § 1; 2009, ch. 563, §§ 1, 2.

Compiler's Notes. Acts 2000, ch. 889, § 1, effective January 1, 2001, renumbered former § 36-6-407 as present § 36-6-403 and former § 36-6-411 as this section.

Acts 2009, ch. 563, § 3 provided that the act, which amended § 36-6-407(a)(3) and added § 36-6-407(d), shall apply to parenting plans approved by the court on or after July 1, 2009.

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