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Which factors do courts consider when relocating a child?

| Aug 31, 2014 | Child Support

For any parent in Tennessee, or elsewhere in the U.S., planning carefully before relocating a child after a divorce is extremely crucial when it comes to protecting the best interests of the child. A couple of months ago, a post on this blog discussed the planning that is required if a parent wishes to relocate with his or her child after a divorce. The planning stage generally involves counseling the child in preparation for relocating, identifying a school that the child will attend after relocation and seeking orders from the court to facilitate the move.

Courts in Tennessee, as well as in the rest of the country, consider certain factors before permitting a parent to relocate with the child. The first factor remains the best interests of the child. This includes school and day care, family and friends in the community where the parent is planning to relocate and the relationship that the child has and will continue to have with the non-custodial parent. It is important for the parent who wishes to relocate to come prepared with responses in the event that a judge asks the parent questions pertaining to those factors.

Second, to ensure that a child’s best interests will be protected after relocation, the court usually asks a parent about personal plans after the move. Factors such as remarriage, pregnancy and a relationship with the child’s other parent are some of the major factors that a court considers before granting a relocation request. It is important that a parent is able to provide a comprehensive answer to the court because a parent’s well-being is directly related to the child’s well-being.

Another important factor, which drives a court’s decision on relocation, is gauging the relationship that the child’s parents share. If the court finds that there is bitterness in the relationship and the relocation is only a means to sever the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent, there is a good chance that the court will deny the request to relocate. Thus, it is extremely important that a parent files a relocation request only in good faith to avoid his or her relocation request from being denied by the judge.

Source: Huffington Post, “Divorce Confidential: Your Legal Rights to Relocate Your Child,” Caroline Choi, Aug. 20, 2014



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