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      What Are the Implications of Moving Out of State with a Child Post-Divorce in Sumner County?

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      Understanding When You Can Relocate a Child and What Is Required Before Doing So

      The months that follow after a divorce is finalized are often full of change. You’re learning how to operate independently again, and this may mean that you need to make large adjustments to your life, such as getting a new job or moving. However, if you have a custody order, it may not be as simple as you think. Many people are surprised to find out that they may have to get the other parent’s and the court’s permission before they are able to move. It’s important to know when these rules apply and what you need to do to be able to relocate.

      Tennessee Parent Relocation Statute

      The Tennessee Parent Relocation Statute outlines when a parent needs to receive permission to relocate and the process for requesting it. In general, parents only need to request permission if they are planning on moving more than 50 miles away from the other parent or moving out of state. If you’re planning on moving out of the state of Tennessee, you will need to notify the other parent at least 60 days before you plan to move. This gives them time to object to the relocation or request a change to the child custody order. If there is no objection to the move and the parents agree on a new visitation schedule, the relocating parent is free to move.

      If the other parent objects or the parents can’t agree on a new visitation schedule, the relocating parent can file a petition to request approval for their relocation from the courts. The other parent must file a response to this petition within 30 days or the courts will approve the relocation. If the other parent files the response objecting to the relocation, the court will make the final determination.

      Requirements for the Notice of Intent to Relocate With Child

      There are specific requirements for what must be included in the notice of intent to relocate with a child. It must be sent to the other parent’s last known address, and it must be sent by certified or registered mail. You cannot just drop it off or hand it to them at an exchange. The notice must include your intent to move, the new address or city, and why you want to relocate. The notice must also have specific language that makes the other parent aware that they have 30 days to object to the relocation. If all of the required elements are not in the notice, it may not be considered adequate notice by the courts. An attorney can help you draft this notice to ensure it’s done correctly.

      Factors Considered in Whether a Relocation Is in the Best Interests of the Child

      If the judge has to decide whether to grant permission for relocation, they make the determination in the best interests of the child. This is based on the following factors:

      • How involved each parent has been with the child and the relationship the child has with any siblings
      • What impact the move is likely to have on the child’s development, taking into consideration their age and any specific needs
      • How easy it will be for the child to maintain a relationship with both parents, which includes looking at how likely the parents are to facilitate visitation and their financial means to do so
      • The child’s preference, which is generally given greater weight if the child is at least 12 years old
      • How the relocating parent has facilitated a relationship between the child and the nonrelocating parent in the past
      • Why the parent wants to relocate and why the other parent objects
      • Any other factors that the courts deem to be of relevance to the best interests of the child

      An attorney can help you prepare statements and other supporting evidence for your need to relocate and how it is in the best interests of the child. Having clear reasons that are backed by factual information, such as an increase in salary that will translate to a higher standard of living, can help your case.

      Potential Changes to the Child Custody Order

      If the relocation request is granted, it’s likely that there will need to be some changes to the parenting plan. Long-distance parenting plans often have special parenting time arrangements, such as one parent having the child during the school year and the other having parenting time during holidays and summer vacation. What this looks like will likely depend on the distance between the two parents and the financial and logistical challenges of transporting the child back and forth.

      It can be beneficial to speak with a family law attorney before considering a relocation to ensure you understand how the parenting plan and visitation schedule could change if the relocation is granted. For example, some parents realize that they don’t want to potentially have to send their child to the other parent’s home for the entirety of the summer. Knowing the potential outcomes can put you in a better place to assess your motivations for relocation and ensure it’s something you want to pursue.

      Moving to a new city or state can open up opportunities that aren’t available where you live, and it can also give you a fresh start after divorce to begin making a new life. If you are considering an out-of-state location, contact the Garner Law Firm, PLLC, at 615-527-5202 to schedule an appointment and find out what you need to do to start the process.

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