Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Case Law Development: Calculating Time Spent With Parents

Fellow Tennessee family law blogger, Stephen Knight, turns our attention to the Tennessee Supreme Court's recent opinion on relocation standards in that state. Tennessee statutes require that, for purposes of determining relocation cases, the courts must determine whether the chidlren are spending "substantially equal intervals of time with the child."  The Tennessee Supreme Court has held that, in calculating time spent with their child, the time should be calculated in units of a day, rather than smaller increments. In refusing Mother's petition to relocate, the trial court had calculated time actually spent with each parent in hours and had not credited to Mother any of the time children were in school as time spent with her.  The court of appeals reversed and the Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed, finding that the mother was spending a greater amount of time with the child and so should be permitted to relocate with the child.

Kawatra v. Kawatra, 2005 Tenn. LEXIS 1052 (December 7, 2005)
Opinion on the web at (last visited December 11, 2005 bgf)

"The number of days to be credited to each parent should be based upon an examination of the residential schedule, additional time not reflected in the residential schedule, and adjustments for any violations to the residential schedule. To allocate a day for which both parents claim credit, the trial court should examine the hours that each parent actually spent with the child on that day, the activities in which each parent participated with the child, the resources that each parent expended on the child's behalf, and any other factor that the trial court considers to be relevant."

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