Parental Relocation

Parental relocation as defined by Tennessee Code Annotated §36-6-108 sets out the course of action for divorced parents when one parent wishes to relocate the child (or children) outside the state or more than one hundred (100) miles from the other parent within the state. The relocating parent is required to send written notice to the non-relocating parent no later than sixty (60) days prior to the move. The non-relocating parent then has thirty (30) days after receiving the notice to object to the court.   If the non-relocating parent does not object within thirty (30) days, he or she may not be able to object later. Depending on the amount of time the parent requesting to relocate actually spends with the child, two different standards govern the Court in deciding whether to allow the relocation:

1)Unequal Parenting Time  & Standard Visitation

If the parents are not actually spending substantially equal periods of time with the child and the parent spending the greater amount of time with the child proposes to relocate with the child, the other parent may, within thirty (30) days of receipt of the notice, file a petition in opposition to the removal of the child.  The other parent may not attempt to relocate with the child unless expressly authorized to do so by the court pursuant to a change of custody or primary custodial responsibility.  The parent spending the greater amount of time with the child shall be permitted to relocate with the child unless the court finds:  (A) The relocation does not have a reasonable purpose; (B) The relocation would pose a threat of specific and serious harm to the child that outweighs the threat of  harm tob the child of a change of custody; or (C) The parent’s motive for relocating with the child is vindictive in that it is  intended to defeat or deter visitation rights of the non-custodial parent or the parent spending less time with the child.

 2)Substantially Equal Parenting Time or Joint Custody

If the parents are actually spending substantially equal intervals of time with the child and the relocating parent seeks to move with the child, the other parent may, within thirty (30) days of receipt of notice, file a petition in opposition to removal of the child.  No presumption in favor or against the request to relocate with the child shall arise.  The court shall determine whether or not to permit relocation of the child based upon the best interests of the child.  This is essentially the same analysis that the Court would use in making an initial determination of Primary Residential Parent status.

If you are attempting to relocate for reasons of financial hardship, a new job opportunity, move closer to family members or any number of other reasons, an experienced family law attorney with a proven track record who knows the law as it pertains parental relocation can effectively advise and advocate on your behalf to make this transition non-detrimental to your and your child/children’s future.  Amanda Thornton Attorney At Law will use her knowledge of the parental relocation provisions to protect and forewarn you of potential hazards and pitfalls when establishing initial parenting plans and navigate you through your relocation.

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