Can I Prevent My Former Spouse from Relocating with Our Child?

When there is a minor child involved in a divorce, it typically makes the entire process more emotional and more complicated. Once you have managed to get through the process, you hope to settle into the routine of co-parenting your child. What happens, however, if your former spouse suddenly wants to move away with your child? A Murfreesboro divorce lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby explains your legal options if you want to prevent your former spouse from relocating with your child.

Divorce and Your Parenting Plan

Anytime a divorce includes a minor child, the State of Tennessee requires the parents to submit a Parenting Plan to the courtMurfreesboro child custody lawyer for approval. The goal of a Parenting Plan is to help the parents successfully co-parent post-divorce. Your Parenting Plan will indicate which parent is the Primary Residential Parent (PRP) and which is the Alternative Residential Parent (ARP). The PRP is the parent with whom the child lives most of the time while the ARP exercises parenting time with the child. If you are the ARP, you undoubtedly look forward to spending as much time as possible with your child. If so, learning that your former spouse wants to move away can be upsetting news. Fortunately, Tennessee law does not allow a parent to simply pick up and move without permission and without allowing the other parent to object.

Tennessee Relocation Requirements

Relocating with a minor child is governed by § 36-6-108 of the Tennessee Code and applies to a proposed relocation outside of Tennessee or more than 50 miles away from the other parent. Absent exigent circumstances, the parent wishing to relocate must send a notice to the other parent at least 60 days before the planed move. The notice must contain the following:

  • Statement of intent to move.
  • Location of proposed new residence.
  • Reasons for proposed relocation.
  • A statement that absent agreement between the parents or an objection by the non-relocating parent within thirty (30) days of the date notice the relocating parent will be permitted to do so by law.

If an objection is filed within the 30-day period, the parent wishing to move must file a petition with the appropriate court asking for permission to relocate.

Objecting to a Relocation

If you receive a notice indicating that your former spouse wishes to relocate, do not ignore the notice. You have a legal right to object to the move, but you must formally do so within 30 days. If you are willing to consider modifying your Parenting Plan to accommodate the move, you have the option to reach an agreement with your former spouse in which you agree to the move. 

If you object to the move completely, you must do so in writing and send it by registered or certified mail within the 30-day time frame. Your former spouse will then officially petition the court for permission to relocate, and the court will decide to grant or deny that request.

All decisions made by a court that involve a minor child must be made using the “best interest of the child” standard. When deciding whether to grant a request to relocate, a judge will consider several factors, such as:

  • The nature and quality of the relationship the child has with both parents and with other family members.
  • The child’s age and development.
  • How realistic it is that the child’s relationship with the non-moving parent can be preserved after the move.
  • Any indication that the proposed move is an attempt to interfere with your relationship with the child.
  • The child’s wishes if he/she is over the age of 12.
  • Your former spouse’s reason for the proposed move.
  • Your reasons for objecting to the move.

Having an experienced divorce lawyer on your side will significantly increase your chances of successfully opposing a relocation request and/or of reaching a favorable agreement regarding modification of the Parenting Plan should the relocation be approved.

Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyer 

If you have additional questions about child relocation in Tennessee, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro divorce lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the team at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.

Dinah Michael