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Parental Relocation in Tennessee

November 19, 2013

In Tennessee, the parental relocation statute is Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-6-108.  This statute allows parents to petition the court for permission to relocate away from the other parent, perhaps in another State.  For many parents, the specter of relocation understandably frightens them.  One way of assuaging that fear is to understand the statute.  Unfortunately, that can be very difficult.

As with any custody and visitation issue, the best interest of the child guides the court in making a decision to grant or deny a petition to allow relocation.  There are many other factors as well, some of which include: does the relocation have a reasonable purpose, does the relocation pose a threat of specific and serious harm to the child, and the relocating parent’s motive in seeking the relocation.  These are not all of the factors and no one reading this article should act on it without seeking the advice of legal counsel.  The bottom line is that relocation is a process.

The process of relocation begins with a notification to the other parent.  The notice requires specific information to be included.  If you receive such a notice, you should immediately seek the advice of counsel.  There are important deadlines that affect your rights as a parent and which could seriously impact your case.  In most cases, the next step involves filing a petition.  This is how the relocating parent seeks permission from the court to actually relocate.  Once the petition is filed, the other parent may file a petition to oppose the relocation.  Again, legal counsel is highly recommended because of serious deadlines.  Eventually, there will be a hearing after which the court will make a decision.

The General Assembly might have made this process a little easier by drafting a much simpler statute.  For example, the statute might read: “Any parent seeking to move more than 100 miles away from the other parent or to another State must petition the court for approval.”  Without all the unnecessary verbiage and grandiose rules, such a statute would result in much greater understanding by parents in Tennessee.  Instead, we have a statute that can be complicated and which makes clarity unnecessarily elusive.

At Whatley & Associates, a significant portion of our practice is devoted to domestic law.  If you believe that you have received a parental relocation notice or a petition like those described above, you should immediately seek the advice of a competent professional.  Give us a call and set an appointment to meet with us today.

Author: George Clark Shifflett, III
George is an Associate Attorney with Whatley & Associates and can be reached by calling (931) 388-4288.

This article is reproduced here for informative purposes only and not intended as legal or any other kind of advice.  No one should act on the information contained herein without seeking the advice of a licensed attorney or other competent professional.  Please see our Disclaimer page.

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