Determining custody and visitation can be difficult even when parents live close to one another. When one of them wants to move with the child, it can be even more challenging to decide how best to maintain the child’s relationship with both parents despite the distance between them.
If you wish to move with your child or your co-parent advises you they intend to move, discuss your legal options with a knowledgeable Hamilton County relocation lawyer. A seasoned child custody attorney could help you create a plan that meets your needs and those of your child.
Any move by a parent could impact an existing custody or visitation arrangement. However, a move out of state or over 50 miles from the other parent triggers specific legal requirements for the relocating parent. Under Tennessee Code Annotated §36-6-108, the moving parent must notify the other parent 60 days before the intended relocation. A judge could shorten this time if circumstances warrant, such as a parent needing to move for a medical problem or another family emergency.
In addition to the notification period, the law requires that the notice meet the following requirements:
If the non-relocating parent receives notice and agrees that their child can move with the other parent, the parties could negotiate a revised visitation schedule and submit it to the court. If a judge determines that the parents’ agreement will meet the child’s needs after the move, they will likely approve it issue a revised custody order. A skilled lawyer in Hamilton County could prepare a proposed relocation consent order and file it in court.
If the non-relocating parent objects to their child moving, they can file a Notice of Opposition to Relocation. In contested move-away cases, a judge will conduct a hearing to consider each party’s position on the move.
To determine best interests in a relocation case, a court may consider how the move will affect the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent. A judge will also assess the move’s impact on the child’s education and social activities. The parent’s reason for relocating is another essential consideration. Judges may not grant a relocation request based on a parent’s desire to limit the other parent’s time with the child.
At a relocation hearing, the parent objecting to the move can ask the court to deny the other parent’s request and award them primary custody of their child. This is always an option in any relocation case, as courts cannot prohibit a parent from moving, but they do have the authority to stop the parent from taking their child with them.
The primary consideration in every relocation case is whether moving is in the child’s best interests. However, the application of this standard varies depending on the custody arrangement.
If parents share “substantially equal” time with their child, a judge assesses whether it is better to remain where they are or move with the relocating parent. Alternately, if the parent intending to move is the child’s primary custodian, a judge will generally permit them to relocate as long as the move will not substantially harm the child. If the primary parent demonstrates that the move is for practical purposes, the burden of proving substantial harm falls on the non-relocating parent.
The stakes are high in relocation cases because one parent stands to lose quality time with their child. A knowledgeable attorney in Hamilton County could strategically present a parent’s relocation case in court and achieve the best possible outcome.
Whether you want to move with your child or object to the other parent’s relocation, you need quality legal representation. A dedicated Hamilton County relocation lawyer helps parents on both sides of move-away disputes. A caring member of our legal team could help draft a parenting plan that considers the impact of a move and maximizes your time with your child. Call us today to get started.