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Murfreesboro Family Law Attorney Provides Guidance When Circumstances Change and a Parent Wants to Relocate

Parental relocation in the aftermath of divorce

The aftermath of divorce is often littered with hurt feelings, emotional exhaustion, and lingering bitterness. The good news, however, is that once the process is finished you have a finalized divorce and an approved parenting plan that outlines child visitation rights. So, after the never-ending process and sustained tension associated with divorce and the accompanying child visitation rights, anything that jeopardizes the arrangement is unwelcome. But it happens—your former spouse does something that may alter the rights that have just been hammered out. A common example occurs when a former spouse decides to move to a distant city or out of state, taking your child with them.

At the Law Office of David L. Scott, we sympathize with how exasperating this can be to a parent who is satisfied with a recent child visitation arrangement. With more than 19 years of experience, our compassionate Murfreesboro family lawyer tirelessly labors to prevent your former spouse from jeopardizing existing child visitation rights.

Limitations on relocation for parents sharing child visitation rights

A parenting plan exists that outlines both parents’ rights to child custody and visitation. So the relocating parent can’t just pack his/her bags and take your child to a distant location. But if the parent does want to do just that, then Tennessee law has strict rules about relocation. If the relocating parent wants to move out of state, or more than 50 miles from his/her current residence, then that parent must get either your consent or the court’s consent. You are entitled to notice of the planned relocation and your ability to object. If you exercise your right to object, then it is up to the court to decide.

A court deciding whether to allow relocation must first determine whether the divorced parents spend substantially equal time with the child. If this is the case, then the court’s decision must be based on the best interests of the child. It considers these factors:

  • Cooperation: Since the child visitation arrangements have been in place, have the parents abided by them? And if the relocating parent does move, what assurances are there that he/she will continue to abide by the child visitation arrangements?

  • What does the child want: Children 12 years or older generally get to voice their concerns about the relocation.

  • Continuity of life experience: How does the proposed move impact the child’s life? For example, if the move will change where the child goes to school, how much disruption will this cause?

The court’s analysis differs if the parents don’t have approximately equal child custody. If the relocating parent spends the greater amount of time with the child, then the court reviews the facts and circumstances of the case and makes a decision. However, if the parent who wants to relocate is spending the lesser time, then a move is not allowed without changing the child visitation rights in the original parenting plan.

What if a parent ignores a court order and moves anyway?

If a parent moves away from the other parent and child in defiance of a court order, then the court re-evaluates the parenting plan. The court may modify custody and visitation rights. Any modifications are made toward respecting the best interests of the child.

Call an experienced Murfreesboro family law lawyer today for a free consultation

Whether you’re a party to a parenting plan with child visitation rights who wants to move far away, or you’re the ex-spouse resisting the relocation, get the legal help you need. Our Murfreesboro family law attorney, at the Law Office of David L. Scott has more than 19 years of experience at your disposal to protect your rights and minimize the impact on your child. Call us at 615-896-7656 or contact us online today.




2 Locations to Serve You

722 South Church Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

Phone: 615-896-7656

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4322 Harding Pike #417
Nashville, TN 37205

Phone: 615-203-8062

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Based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, we are pleased to serve clients throughout Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Franklin, Brentwood, Nashville, Woodbury, McMinnville, Manchester, Shelbyville, Lebanon, Mount Juliet and other communities in Rutherford County, Williamson County, Cannon County, Bedford County, Davidson County, Wilson County and Coffee County.


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