Tennessee Family Law Questions & Answers

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Jul 11, 2016

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: 

  • Statement of intent to move;
  • Location of proposed new residence;
  • Reasons for proposed relocation; and
  • Statement that the other parent may file a petition in opposition to the move within thirty (30) days of receipt of the notice.

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: 

  • The relocation does not have a reasonable purpose;
  • The relocation would pose a threat of specific and serious harm to the child that outweighs the threat of harm to the child of a change of custody; or
  • The parent's motive for relocating with the child is vindictive in that it is intended to defeat or deter visitation rights of the non-custodial parent or the parent spending less time with the child.

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. 

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