One of the hardest things for a loving parent to hear is that their former spouse wants to move away with their children. At the same time, it could be challenging for a parent trying to build a new life to give up an opportunity to start over somewhere else.
Relocation issues are some of the most challenging cases our local family attorney’s handle. If you or your co-parent is considering making a move with the children, consult a Red Bank relocation lawyer immediately.
If parents have a custody and visitation agreement—also called a parenting plan—they must abide by it. Parenting plans are court orders and legally enforceable.
If one parent wants to move more than 50 miles away or to another state, Tennessee Code §36-6-108 requires them to inform the other parent of their intention at least 60 days before the move. If the parents agree that the children can move and devise a new visitation agreement, they could revise the parenting plan and file it with the court.
Working with the other parent to develop a new plan that preserves the non-residential parent’s relationship with the children is the best way to handle relocation. It keeps the power and decision-making in the parents’ hands and allows them to create a solution that will work for their family. A Red Bank relocation attorney could help parents negotiate or finalize an agreement they have drafted before submitting it to the court for approval.
If one parent objects to the move, the judge will decide whether to allow the relocation based on the child’s best interests. The law describes factors the courts might consider when deciding whether relocation serves a child’s best interest, but judges may weigh some more heavily than others. Factors courts may consider when making a best interest determination include the:
Judges may also consider other factors that might be relevant to a particular case. A diligent relocation lawyer in Red Bank could ask the judge to evaluate other considerations that support a parent’s position.
If the parent requesting the move has most of the parenting time, a judge is more likely to allow the move without strong evidence that relocation is against the children’s interests. If the parent opposing the move has equal or nearly equal time, the decision becomes more difficult, especially if the distance will limit the local parent’s access to the children.
If the court decides relocation is in the children’s best interests, it will issue a modified parenting plan. The new plan will create a schedule for the parent who remains local to receive adequate parenting time with the child. It often means that the children stay with the non-residential parent for most school holidays, including the summer.
If the court decides relocation is not in the children’s best interests, it will issue a new custody order that will take effect only if the current residential parent decides to move without the children. In other words, if the residential parent wants to move but a court declares the move would not serve the children—the parent could still move—but residential custody would transfer to the other parent.
Moving away with a child is an act with consequences that could reverberate for years. If parents do not live together and the move will impact the parenting plan, the law imposes strict requirements if a parent wants to move with their children.
A Red Bank relocation lawyer could advise a parent on the state’s legal requirements and explain how they might respond to achieve their desired outcome. Reach out today to speak with a seasoned attorney.