When you serve your country as a member of the United States Armed Forces, you will likely face relocation at some point in your service. If you have obtained a divorce in Tennessee and are facing active military duty, you will have a unique set of circumstances and reporting requirements governing your relocation. As an active duty member of the Armed Forces, you enjoy certain rights and legal protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA allows you an automatic stay of administrative and court proceedings for 90 days upon written notice of deployment or relocation. For at least these 90 days, you will be able to maintain your current parenting time and child custody agreement as laid out in your Parenting Plan.
After you submit a military relocation request in writing, you will be granted a 90 day grace period. During this time, your former spouse and parenting partner will not be able to make any alterations to your custody agreement as laid out in your joint Parenting Plan, created during your divorce proceedings. At his or her complete discretion, your family law judge might also choose to lengthen this time period. Extensions are granted on a case-by-case basis. You can be protected from your former spouse demanding that you be in court if you are stationed far away on active duty.
Residency requirements and expectations
If you are relocating for military service and are divorced with a custody agreement for your children, it will be necessary to work with your Nashville divorce lawyer, the courts, your children, and your former spouse in order to create a situation that puts the needs of your family first. The law that governs relocation is the Tennessee Parental Relocation Act, codified in T.C.A. Section 36-6-108. Additionally, you will need to establish Tennessee residency in order to be eligible for these provisions under the law. If you are an active service member and have been living or stationed in Tennessee for at least one year, or if your spouse has lived in Tennessee for at least one year while you were deployed or stationed elsewhere, the residency requirement for military families will be satisfied.
Your service to your country and your children’s wellbeing are the most important considerations in your military relocation. Once you have an experienced Nashville family law attorney as your advocate for your parental rights, you might experience significant changes in the frequency of visits you will have with your child. When your deployment ends, however, your original Parenting Plan and custodial arrangement will likely go back into effect. Some circumstances that could be impacted as a result of your need to relocate for military service are:
- Frequency of visits between you and your children
- Which parent has majority, sole, or primary custody and/or decision-making authority during your deployment
- Your need for flexibility around length, time, and place of parental visits
- The amount you will pay in child support
- The needs of your children and your overall family dynamics
- The ability to support your children in school and extracurricular activities
We respect and appreciate your service to our country, and we want to make your relocation or deployment as seamless as possible for you and your children. Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC are experienced, compassionate advocates that are equipped to fight for your needs and the best interest of your children. Located on Woodland Street in historic Edgefield, our Nashville office is within sight of the courthouse and has free parking. Call us today at 615-454-9899 or contact us online to reserve a consultation.