New Tennessee Law Lets Parents Waive the Primary Residential Parent Designation


A new law in Tennessee is letting parents forego the primary residential parent (PRP) designation if they share equal custody of their child. Effective July 1, 2019, TN SB0402 amends TCA Title 4 and Title 36 to give parents with equal parenting time the choice to designate a PRP or waive the designation entirely.

In addition to waiving the primary residential parent requirement, TN SB0402 allows parents who share equal custody to select which home address they would like to use to determine school zoning for their children.

What Does This Mean for Parents?

Though both primary residential parents and alternative residential parents have the right to make decisions for the child, the PRP is usually the parent with whom the child lives more than 50% of the time. Some parents, however, split parenting time exactly 50-50.

Before these recent amendments were passed, parents were required to designate a primary residential parent even if they shared exactly equal time with the child.

In these situations, it meant that:

  • The PRP’s home address would be used for school zoning purposes, even though the parents had equal parenting time
  • The PRP was seen as the “default setting” for various benefits – such as Social Security benefits – if the parenting plan did not state otherwise

Now, parents with a 50-50 parenting plan do not have to choose a PRP. This means parents are free to choose which home they want to use for school zoning. It also reduces contention or competition between parents who share custody equally.

Discuss Your Custody Questions with Our Firm

We encourage you to consult with our attorneys to learn more about how this law may affect your parenting plan. Goble & Yow Attorneys, PLLC is here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide the personalized representation you need for your custody case or other family matter.

Contact us online or call (931) 283-2311 now to schedule a consultation.