Relocation statute

The full language of the statute can be found in the Tennessee Code at §36-6-108. If you are planning to relocate with a child, you should consult with an attorney to determine if your relocation triggers the procedures in the law. The statute requires that notice of the relocation be given to the other parent if you intend to move with the child “outside the state or more than one hundred (100) miles from the other parent within the state.”

What determines if I can move with my children?

Under the relocation statute, there are two scenarios contemplated.

  • One scenario is where the parents are spending “substantially equal” time with the children. Under this scenario, it is more difficult to move the child away from the other parent. Courts will consider whether it is in the child’s “best interest” to move away.
  • If the parents are not spending substantially equal time, the move will be approved by the Court unless the objecting parent can prove a legal basis to prevent the move. The statute sets out the reasons why a move should be denied and the reasons are further defined by written opinions or decisions from our appellate courts. If the objecting parent is able to prove that one of the reasons exist to prevent the move, the Court will then determine if the move is in the child’s best interest.

What must I do if I want to relocate with my children?

Notice: If your move requires you to send notice to the other parent, your notice should comply with the procedure set out in the statute. The notice should include the address where you want to move and why you want to move. You must tell the other parent that they have the right to file a petition opposing the child’s move and tell them the amount of time they have to file their petition. It is important that your notice comply with the requirements in the statute.

No opposition to the move: If the other parent is not opposed to the child’s move and/or does not file a timely objection, you are permitted to relocate with the child. Most of the time a new parenting schedule is necessary since the parents no longer reside in the same city. The parties can either enter a new schedule with the Court by consent or ask the Court to set a new schedule. The Court may also consider the expense of transporting the child or any other issue that may arise as a result of the relocation.

The move is opposed: If the other parent files a timely objection to the move, you must wait until the Court has given you permission to move.

What should I do if I want to stop the relocation of my child?

If you have been served with a notice of relocation or believe the other parent is going to attempt to move the child away from you, you should immediately consult an attorney. Your attorney can assist you with filing the appropriate court documents to protect your rights. After filing your objection, you should then gather all of the evidence you have to support your opposition to the move.

Because so little time is given to object, parents often feel forced to file an objection even if they are unsure of how they feel about the move. Because of time constraints that accompany relocation cases, it is important to have an attorney who understands the law on relocation. If the proposed relocation complies with the statute and the existing case law, it is extremely likely that the court will permit the move. It is better for you to know that sooner rather than later and a qualified attorney will know when and how to properly litigate a relocation case.