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How parental relocation impacts custody and visitation

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Firm News

Issues with children are among the most complicated areas to address in Tennessee family law. Child custody and visitation are common topics for dispute. This can be made more complicated if a parent tries to relocate.

Relocation can be an obstacle when trying to craft and adhere to a parenting plan. Knowing the law and what it says about a potential relocation is an essential part of reaching a reasonable resolution and ensuring both parents have sufficient time with the child.

Distance is key with a proposed relocation

Once there is a custody and parenting plan in place, a parent who has custody or parenting time might want to relocate. It could be by moving to another state entirely or more than 50 miles from the other parent who is still living in Tennessee.

If a parent objects, the court will then determine whether the move is in the child’s best interest. As part of that determination, it will look at the parents’ relationship with the child and how it will be impacted by the move. The child’s age and how their development will be affected will also be assessed.

It will gauge the potential of the non-relocating parent maintaining a relationship with the child. If a child is at least 12 or is younger but deemed mature enough to express their preference, they will be heard. The court will want to know how the move will benefit the child and why the parent wants to move. It could be for a new job, to be closer to family or to seek educational opportunities that are not available in the current location.

Upon allowing the move, the court will modify the parenting plan accordingly. If it decides that the move is not in the child’s best interest, then it can deny the petition. Financial arrangements that were in place as part of the divorce can be adjusted based on the new template and to ensure the non-relocating parent has a healthy relationship with the child.

Parental relocation can be a complicated area of family law

It is natural to feel a variety of emotions if a parent decides to relocate with a child. While this will be a major change, there are family law options for both sides to try and make it work. If there is reason to object, this too can be explored. Knowing the law, what steps can be taken and how to move forward is key with finding a workable solution.