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Know Tennessee Law on Parental Relocation Before You Move

Franklin family law attorney explains your options when you want to move

Parenting becomes a lot more complicated after divorce, or after a custody or parenting plan order has been entered if you were not ever married to the other parent of your children. Though you may have decided to disentangle your life from your ex, you will still find yourself consulting with them about scheduling or even asking for their permission to make decisions for yourself – like whether you can move.

Of course, if you are not the primary parent, you can move wherever you want if you don’t care about whether you get to spend time with your children or not. But if you want to have a workable visitation schedule or you want your children to move a significant distance with you, you’re going to have to go through a lot of steps to get permission from your ex and the approval of the court.

I’m Judy A. Oxford, an experienced Franklin, Tennessee family law attorney. I’ve helped many clients who wanted to move across the state or even across the country, while also maintaining regular contact with their children. I’ve also helped clients who wanted to move with their children. The first thing I do is help clients understand the laws regarding the issue, and then we work to try to devise the right strategy to get the move and the time desired with the child approved.

In Tennessee, the law states that you must provide at least 60 days’ notice to the other parent if you want to move more than 50 miles away from that parent and if you are spending time with your children. You must also provide notice if you plan to move to another state, even if that would be less than 50 miles away. You must send the notice by registered or certified mail so that you have proof that you sent it, and the notice must include your proposed new residence, the reasons you want to move, and the following statement: that absent agreement between the parents or an objection by the non-relocating parent within 30 days after the date the notice was mailed, the relocating parent will be permitted by law to move.

If your child’s other parent does make a timely objection to your move, or if you are unable to agree on a new visitation schedule within 30 days of the notice, you must file a court petition to get approval for your move. Once you do that, the other parent has 30 days to respond. If the other parent does not respond, the law permits you to move. However, if the other parent does respond, you should be prepared to argue your case in court.

If your case goes to court, the judge will consider what is in your child’s best interests when making a decision. Many factors will go into that decision, including what kind of relationship you have with the child, the age of the child and his or her particular needs, potential visitation schedules and how they will impact the child, the reasons for the move, and more. The child’s preference will also be considered, if the child is 12 or older. The court may also hear the preference of a younger child if requested. Behavioral history will also be considered, such as whether one parent has tried to alienate the other from the child.

The courts will consider all the factors involved in the case, including the expense required for maintaining visitation. To win the court’s approval for a move, you will need to think through all these issues yourself and make a strong argument that factors in the best interests of the child. I help my clients to think through these issues, and I try to create a strategy to meet all the goals, including getting approval for the move and getting a modified child custody order.

If you are thinking of moving and want to seek a modified child custody order, including taking the child with you, call me, Judy A. Oxford, an experienced Franklin family law lawyerf, today. I will explore the options with you to try to help you create the strongest case to achieve your goals. Likewise, if you have been given notice that your child’s other parent intends to move and you want to challenge it, I can help. Call my office today at (615) 791-8511or fill out the secure online form on my site to schedule a free consultation.