Among the several difficult points that can arise from divorce proceedings, relocation of the parent with custodial rights to their child or children is one of the most contentious. Unfortunately, many divorced parents have discovered that it’s more challenging to nurture a strong parent-child relationship after one party moves a significant distance away.
Before you or your former spouse can relocate, the court first needs to evaluate if the change could potentially harm your child’s ever-developing familial relationships. That said, it’s not unprecedented for a judge to forbid one parent from moving away to ensure that the other parent can keep regular contact with the child.
If you need help with a relocation, call our Nashville divorce lawyers for help today.
The Law Office of Martin Sir & Associates provides the insight and representation you need when you are facing a divorce or another family law issue. Attorney Martin Sir is an experienced and highly regarded lawyer who has earned a “Superb” rating from Avvo and has won the Clients’ Choice Award for Avvo in Divorce for 2012 and 2014. We work hard to help you through this difficult time while upholding your rights at all times.
Parents with visitation rights may need to take action to prevent the other parent from moving, such as filing a petition in opposition of relocation or exploring a parenting plan modification. In certain cases, judges can require the relocating custodial parent to cover the expenses of the other parent when they visit or let the noncustodial parent spend a long summer vacation with their child.
In July 2018, the Tennessee parent relocation statute (§36-6-108) was amended to include a comprehensive multifactor judicial analysis. A judge can review the factors listed in the revised statute on a case-by-case basis to determine if a proposed relocation serves the best interests of a minor child.
The court needs to evaluate these factors and more if one parent opposes a relocation:
- The nature, quality, and duration of a child’s relationship with both parents and any extending family members
- The child’s preference, so long as the child is 12 years of age or older
- Whether the relocation can benefit the child’s quality of life on a financial, emotional and educational level
- How the relocation could impact a child’s educational, emotional and physical development
- The feasibility of preserving both parent-child relationships after the relocation
- If the relocating parent has established a pattern of intentionally interfering in their child’s relationship with the nonrelocating parent
- The reasons each parent has for pursuing or opposing a proposed relocation.
- Other factors that could affect the “best interests of the child,” as enumerated in § 36-6-106(a)
There are also new procedures in place for a parent who plans to relocate out of state or over 50 miles away from the nonrelocating parent. For example, the relocating parent needs to send a notice to the nonrelocating parent at least 60 days prior to moving away with the child. This notice must contain the following information:
- A statement of intent to move
- The location of the new residence
- The reasons behind the proposed relocation
- A statement that covers an absent agreement
Per Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-6-108, the relocating parent can proceed with the relocation if the nonrelocating parent fails to send an objection within 30 days of the date in which the registered or certified mail carrier accepted the letter for mailing purposes.
Post-Divorce Modifications For Relocations
Relocation issues arise when the terms of an existing custody order were based on the parties’ respective living situations during divorce proceedings. For example, a court order in a final divorce decree for joint or shared custody might require parents to alternate weeks for living with their child, dropping them off at school and taking them to extracurricular activities. However, if one parent moves three hours out of town, terms of the existing joint custody order could not be reasonably fulfilled.
If the relocating parent is set on moving, the parties would have to request the court to modify the existing custody order due to changed circumstances. Where parents had equal custody of their child after divorce, the relocation of a parent could force the court to entrust primary or sole custody of the child with the nonrelocating parent, if the court determines that such an arrangement serves the best interests of the child.
Looking Out For You At All Times
Contact the skilled Nashville divorce attorneys at The Law Office of Martin Sir & Associates if you are interested in moving or need to challenge your ex-spouse’s relocation. Our experienced team can deftly guide you through each phase of your unique legal journey and help you pursue a favorable case outcome that reflects your personal and legal objectives.
Contact us online today or call us at The Law Office of Martin Sir & Associates to schedule a consultation to discuss your family law issue!
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