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Parental Relocation Cases and the New Parental Relocation Statute in Tennessee

By Brock East

Although any family matter (divorce, custody, child support, etc.) is difficult. It has been my experience that the most dramatic change in a family's makeup comes with the prospect of parental relocation. It is certainly understandable why a parent may need to move further than 50 miles from the other parent. Many times the reasons include a change/promotion in employment or a new relationship/marriage. However, this can be a very difficult and delicate situation for the family and court to navigate. The practical impact of moving a significant distance from the other parent means that one parent or the other will no longer have the ability to be involved in the day-to-day activities of the child. No longer can either parent drop by at the weekly soccer practice or attend the parent-teacher conferences that are set without significant hardship.

Generally speaking, the parent with the vast majority of parenting time and responsibility will be in the best position to either move with the child/children or prevent the child/children from moving with the Alternative Residential Parent. However, Tennessee courts have recently been willing to look less at the parenting time and more at the respective best interests of the child/children when navigating this issue. It is very important that you contact an attorney to address these issues as soon as you know that parental relocation is a possibility.

The harder situation is when both parents are spending equal or substantially equal periods of time with their child/children. Generally, a court will look to the various best interest factors that have been outlined by statute to determine the proper course of action for the child. These factors include consideration of the past history and needs of the minor child/children and each parent's ability to provide for same as well as many other considerations. Again, it is very important to contact an attorney to discuss the specifics of your respective situation as soon as you know a parental relocation is a possibility.

If you would like to discuss this issue or any other family law question, please contact our office at 615-570-3047.