What If My Ex-Spouse Wants to Take the Kids Out of the State?

What If My Ex-Spouse Wants to Take the Kids Out of the State?

When the parents of a minor child decide to end their marriage the divorce process that follows is never easy on anyone involved. One thing that makes a divorce even more difficult is that the issues “resolved” in the divorce often need to be revisited down the road. What happens, for example, if you learn that your ex-spouse wants to take the kids out of state after the divorce has been finalized and a parenting plan is in place? In the State of Tennessee the “Parental Relocation Statute” sets forth specific procedures that must be followed before a court will even consider a permanent out of state move with the minor child.

When you go through a divorce in Tennessee the court requires the parties to submit a parenting plan for court approval. If the parties are unable to reach a mutually agreeable plan the court will create the plan for them. The parenting plan will cover all sorts of issues that pertain to the continued care and responsibility of raising the minor child post-divorce. Custody and visitation with the child are among the issues addressed in the plan. The parent who has primary physical custody of the child may decide that a move out of the State of Tennessee is desirable and/or necessary at some point after the divorce has been completed. When that occurs, Tennessee Statute Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-6-108 requires the parent to provide the other parent notice and an opportunity to object. The notice requirement applies if the custodial parent plans to move more than 100 miles away. The notice must be mailed at least 60 days prior to the intended move, unless exigent circumstances apply, and must contain the following:

  • 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.

If the other parent objects to the move the court will take a number of factors into account when deciding whether or not to approve the move, including, but not limited to:

  • The reason for the proposed move.
  • The extent to which visitation rights have been allowed and exercised
  • Whether the primary residential parent, once out of the jurisdiction, is likely to comply with any new visitation arrangement.
  • The love, affection and emotional ties existing between the parents and child
  • The importance of continuity in the child’s life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment

If the court does approve the move it is likely that the current visitation schedule will be modified as well as a change in the current child support considered to accommodate the expenses involved in transporting the child for visitation purposes.

If you are currently operating under a Tennessee parenting plan that allows you regular parenting time with your child and you have been informed that your ex-spouse plans to move out of state, contact the experienced Tennessee family law attorneys at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment to discuss your legal options.

Stan Bennett