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What are the basic parental relocation laws in Tennessee?

When life's circumstances change, many separated parents in Tennessee relocate. However, since those parents have children, relocation to another city or state has to comply with certain rules and regulations per Tennessee law. These laws have been put in place to ensure that a child's relationship with his or her parents is not hampered due to relocation.

The law requires that a parent must send notice of relocation at least 60 days prior to relocation. The only exception to this rule is when a court allows an extension arising from an emergency. The notice must clearly state the intent to relocate, the location of the move and details of the reasons behind the relocation decision. Additionally, the notice must also state that if the other parent objects, he or she must file a petition within 30 days of receiving the notice.

If the parents agree to the relocation decision, they can devise their own child custody and visitation plan after the move. However, if they do not agree, the relocating parent must file a petition with the court seeking an alteration. If both parents share joint custody of a child and the relocating parent plans take the child, the other parent must file a petition to prevent the child's removal within 30 days of receiving the relocation notice. The same rule applies when one parent spends a greater amount of time with the child, usually applicable in cases where one parent has primary custody and the other has periodic visitations.

It is also important to note that if a child is 12 years of age or older, the court would hear from the child regarding where he or she wants to live, in the event of relocation. In such situations, courts generally give more consideration to an older child's decision than a younger child's.

Source: LRCVAW.org, "Tennessee Relocation Statute," Accessed on Oct. 17, 2014

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