After a divorce, it can be advantageous for personal or professional reasons to relocate to another city or state. If you have children, however, there are laws and statutes in Tennessee that must be followed, or you could risk losing access to your children. Our Nashville divorce attorneys have helped countless clients through the relocation process, and there are a few things you should know before you begin.
What is the Tennessee Parent Relocation Statute?
The Tennessee Parent Relocation Statute – also known as the “Move Away Law” – governs the legality of parents desiring to move out of state with minor children, or moving more than 50 miles away from the other parent’s home in the state of Tennessee. It is imperative to follow the orders of the Court in these instances, as strict adherence will prevent you from being in Contempt of Court, which could mean jail time.
The Tennessee Move Away Law requires:
- Two months’ notice. The parent wishing to relocate with the children is required to send written notice to the other parent no later than sixty days before the move.
- One month to oppose. The parent that is not moving has thirty days after receiving the notice to file a Petition in Opposition to Move with the court. If no objection is filed within thirty days, the parent desiring the move may do so – with the children – after this time.
What happens when the other parent objects to your relocation?
When one parent objects to the other parent moving out of state or more than 50 miles away, the court will consider two types of parenting structures.
First, if both parents spend equal amounts of time with the child, there is no presumption of favor in the case of relocation. If the relocation is in the child’s best interest, it will likely be granted. That decision is made with these deciding factors:
- The extent to which visitation rights have been honored.
- If the primary residential parent, once relocated, plans to comply with any new access arrangement.
- Emotional ties between parents and child(ren), and the stability of the family unit of the parents.
Second, if the two parties do not spend the same amount of time with each child, the court considers the motives and purpose of the relocation, also considering if there is any threat of harm to the child(ren).
If you are the primary residential parent and you are acting in good faith and for the sake of your family, there is a possibility that you will be granted permission for relocation with your children. If you are the parent with an objection, you will likely want to consult with a Nashville child custody lawyer.
Your Tennessee divorce does not mean you have to live in the same place forever, especially if relocation is in the best interest of your children and family unit. If you are in the Nashville area or are seeking counsel here, our law firm can consult with you about your relocation options, or contesting a relocation of your former spouse. Please call 615-391-4200 or use our contact form to reserve an in-person or video consultation with the dedicated legal team at Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC.
Karla C. Miller has devoted her entire career to the practice of family law in Tennessee. She attended Auburn University and Nashville School of Law, and upon graduation in 1996, she opened her own law firm and has been assisting families throughout Tennessee since then. Learn more about Karla C. Miller here.