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Can you relocate with your children after your divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2022 | Divorce

In the early stages of a Tennessee divorce, parents often focus on simply making it from day to day. It can be hard for the family to adjust to new custody arrangements and to balance family court proceedings with the ongoing demands of daily life.

Many recently divorced parents can only start to think about the future honestly after a judge finalizes their divorce. Until the proverbial dust settles, they may have a hard time picturing their future.

Now that you have adjusted to your change in living circumstances, finances and parenting responsibilities, you have started to think about your next step. For many people moving on after a divorce, a change of scenery would benefit them and possibly their children. If you have family in another state or have received an excellent job offer, can you potentially relocate with your children despite a shared custody arrangement?

Tennessee has rules about move-away requests

Tennessee state law has strict limitations on a parent’s right to relocate when subject to a shared custody order. If the move will be more than 50 miles or will take the children out of Tennessee, then the parent requesting the move will need to notify their ex and the courts in writing of the intended relocation.

If the other parent agrees that the move would be good for the children, then the relocation request will move forward as an uncontested modification matter. Otherwise, when the other spouse disagrees, the couple will have to go back to court to litigate.

As with most custody issues, the judge presiding over the case has to keep their focus on what will be best for the children. The parent requesting the relocation will need to show not just that there is a justification for the move but that the relocation would be in the best interests of the children. The courts potentially have the authority to deny or approve the relocation request and to modify the parenting plan based on the judge’s opinion about what would be best for the family.

Knowing how to develop your case is crucial

If you already know that your ex will fight you on your relocation request but hope to move somewhere closer to family or with more job opportunities anyway, you need to prepare for the potential of custody litigation. The more your legal case focuses on the benefits to the children, the harder it will be for your ex to deny your relocation request.

Understanding the rules that govern your right to move away with the children following your divorce will improve your chances of success.