Tennessee relocation statute allows parents, under certain circumstances, to move out of Tennessee with the child—even over the objection of the other parent. The law requires the parent desiring to move outside of Tennessee or more than fifty miles from the other parent, to give notice of that desire. The notice of intent to relocate must contain the following information:
The non-relocating parent must file a petition opposing the move or the relocating parent will be allowed to move. In such a situation there must either be an agreement on a new visitation schedule or the court will be forced to decide how best to create a schedule to foster and continue the child's relationship with the other parent.
If the parents are spending substantially equal time with the child the court will decide whether or not to allow the move based solely on what would be in the best interest of the child. Where the parents are not spending substantially equal time with the child, the primary residential parent will be allow to move, even over the objection of the other parent, unless the other parent can prove one of the following:
Even if one of these factors exists, the court can still allow the move if the court finds the move would be in the best interest of the minor child.
Parenting Plans are required in all divorce and custody cases involving children. Each Parenting Plan contains a set of 9 rights each parent has when the children are in the physical custody of the other parent. These rights are often referred to as the parental bill of rights and are as follows:
In addition to these 9 rights, parents can agree on other conditions and requirements and put those in the Parenting Plan. If the either parent violates the rights contained in the Parenting Plan Order, they can be held in contempt. Also, a violation of the parental bill of rights can form the basis of a modification of parenting time.
If you are subject to a Parenting Plan Order, read and become familiar with the parental bill of rights. Make sure and do your part to comply with the provisions contain in the bill of rights and make sure the other parent complies with the bill of rights as well. Doing so will insure that each parent has the opportunity to play a significant role in the lives of the children.
Divorce can be expensive, both in terms of the emotional costs and the economic costs. Many times legal fees top the list of costs in a divorce case. Nevertheless, there are steps you can take to reduce the legal fees in your divorce.
In 2011, the Tennessee Legislature passed a law requiring the courts to “order a custody arrangement that permits both parents to enjoy the maximum participation possible in the life of the child consistent with the [best interest of the child].” It makes since that if one parent is unable to care for the child during his or her parenting time, the other parent should be given an opportunity to do so before a baby sitter is used. Such an arrangement will “permit both parents to enjoy the maximum participation possible in the life of the child. . . .”
This is called a right of first refusal. Care should be used when drafting a right of first refusal. Factors to be considered are things such as a minimum amount of time before the right kicks in, a set period of time for giving notice to the other parent of the option to exercise the right, and a requirement to let the other parent know within a reasonable time whether or not the option will be exercised.
The following is an example of an actual right of first refusal in a permanent parenting plan order approved by the court: “If either parent is unable to spend time with the child during that parents parenting time and would otherwise be forced to utilize a third party to stay with the child, the other parent shall have the option to spend that time with the child. The parent who is scheduled to have parenting time shall give the other parent at least four (4) hours’ notice of the inability of that parent to spend time with the child and the other parent shall either accept or reject the opportunity to spent that time with the child at least two (2) hours following the notice.”
Rights of first refusal are generally a good idea as long as there are limits in place. It is best to work out a general agreement with the other parent and then have a qualified family law attorney draft the actual agreement.
Raising kids is expensive and no one enjoys paying child support to the other parent. However, often paying that child support each month is far cheaper than actually having primary custody of the child and having the additional “hidden” costs.
If you are considering seeking a change in custody to keep from paying more in child support, you should consider the real costs of raising a child. You might want to heed the advice of the old adage “don’t cut your nose off to spite your face.”
In this episode, we discuss the propriety of seeking a change in custody just to keep from having to pay child support. We explore some of the hidden costs involved in raising kids and explain why having primary custody of a child is often far more expensive than paying child support.
In yesterday’s episode, we discussed several factors that go into determining the amount of child support that will be paid:
In today's episode, we discuss what happens when one or both parents are receiving Social Security Benefits.
Amounts received by a parent under Title II of the Social Security Act are considered income and can form the basis of a child support award. Supplemental Security Income benefits, however, are not included in income and cannot form the basis of a child support award.
If a parent is receiving disability or retirement benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, then the amount received is included in income to determine the child support obligation. In addition, if the children are receiving money because of a parent’s disability income, that amount is added to the income of that parent. The amounts received by the children are called derivative benefits.
Once the children’s derivative benefits are added to the parent’s disability income, the amount of child support is calculated based on the guidelines. If the calculation shows the parent receiving disability income should be paying child support, the amount of the children’s derivative benefits are subtracted from that parent’s child support obligation. If the difference is a positive number, the parent owes the difference. If the difference is negative, child support will be zero and the parent owes nothing.
In Tennessee, every parent has an obligation to support their children. When parents are unmarried and/or not living together, one parent will usually be required to pay child support to the other parent. But what happens if the parent obligated to pay child support misses one or more payments?
In Tennessee, the law imposes twelve percent interest on past due child support payments. Child support is considered late if it is not paid on the day it is due. In addition, the past due child support becomes a judgment against the person who owes the child support. That judgment carries 12% interest and the interest itself becomes child support.
Things to keep in mind:
Mediation is a settlement process to help you and your spouse try and resolve the issues involved in your divorce case. The issues mediated can include child custody and parenting time issues if children are involved, alimony and property division, including who will receive what property and who will be responsible for which bills. Mediation is an informal process usually conducted around a conference room table. It is in a casual setting.
The mediator is not a judge and does not make a decision or impose his or her will on the parties but attempts to find a solution to the dispute. At the mediation session, each person involved in the dispute presents a summary of his or her point of view. If you have an attorney, he or she will usually go with you to the mediation session. The mediator will usually meet with everyone together at the beginning and then meet individually with each side. This offers participants the opportunity to communicate to the mediator their real interests in the dispute as well as to vent anger or frustrations outside the presence of the opposing side. The mediator will work with each person until an agreement is reached or an impasse occurs. If an agreement is reached, is should be put in writing and signed by the parties.
Although anyone with a law license can mediate a case, most mediators go through extensive training and become certified by the Tennessee Supreme Court as Rule 31 Certified Mediators. In addition, Rule 31 Certified Mediators must continue to receive training and education past the date of certification. Not all certified mediators are attorneys.
Mediators generally range in price from $40.00 per hour on the low end, all the way up to $400.00 per hour and even more. Usually the cost is split equally between the parties, although in certain cases the court will require the costs be borne by the party with more resources. Not only do the mediators charge for their time, but the attorneys participating in the mediation charge their clients their usual hourly rate.
The best way to avoid the expense involved in mediation is to settle all of the issues in your divorce or custody case. This can be done prior to or after filing the case by sitting down with the other party and working out an agreement that works for both of you.
Another alternative is to have your attorney schedule a settlement conference with the other attorney. Such a conference can take place in the office of one of the attorneys and is similar to mediation except without the mediator. No matter which option you choose, it is always best to settle your case prior to turning all the decisions over to a judge.
What happens when the parents of a child die? In Tennessee, a guardian will be appointed to stand in place of the parents. The guardian will be responsible for raising the child and managing any assets the child may have.
In this episode, we explore the law as it relates to guardianships in situations where both parents are deceased.
In this first episode of the Tennessee Family Law Question and Answer podcast, we discuss what effect filing for divorce in Tennessee has on the parties' credit. As a general rule, filing for divorce in Tennessee will have no effect on a person's credit rating. However, not every case will follow the general rule.
Occasionally, there will be no clear understanding between a divorcing couple as to who will be responsible for which bills. Often, in that situation, bills will go unpaid and credit will be negatively effected.
It is best to have a clear understanding on who is responsible for paying which bills. This is best accomplished by sitting down before the divorce is filed and working on the details. If this is impossible, then have the attorneys discuss an equitable solution. As a last resort, a motion can be filed and a judge. referee or magistrate make the decision.