Often a job, a loved one, or another factor makes relocation to another state, city, or even country necessary. However, when there are children involved who are subject to court orders regarding visitation, custody, or support, such a move can become more complicated. Seeking to relocate a child following a divorce settlement may involve lengthy negotiations and court proceedings. The Nashville child custody lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC provide experienced legal assistance to people who need to move with their children, or to a parent opposing a relocation. We strive to ensure that sensitive issues surrounding visitation arrangements are handled swiftly and properly. Our family law attorneys represent parents throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties.Seeking Approval for Child Relocation
If a parent with custody of a child wishes to move with that child, he or she must obtain court approval prior to moving. All parenting plans entered into in Tennessee contain a provision regarding the parental relocation statute, which sets out which actions must be taken for parents who want to move out of state or over 100 miles away from the other parent. The first step that a parent who wishes to relocate must take is to send a letter to the other parent containing information regarding where they wish to relocate, when, and why they decided to move. Once that letter is sent, the non-moving parent may file a notice of opposition if they oppose the move.
If an opposition is filed, a court will determine whether or not the parent is permitted to relocate with the child. In making this determination between parents equally sharing custody and parenting time, the court looks at whether the relocation is in the best interest of the child. If the relocating parent is the primary caretaker, he or she must only show a reasonable purpose behind the move. Once a reasonable purpose is shown, the opposing parent can prevent relocation by proving the move will bring substantial harm to the child, or that it is being carried out as an act of vindictiveness.
The best chance of receiving approval for a move is if a parent shows he or she needs to move for job-related purposes, or to receive help for health issues. Likewise, a parent opposing a move may be successful if it is shown that it is in the child’s best interest to keep him or her close to the current school, network of people, or medical facilities.
Before court involvement, parties in Tennessee are generally required to participate in mediation to discuss relocation issues. When a parent decides to move without seeking proper legal remedies, that parent may be held in contempt of court for violating a court order and may be subject to consequences including sanctions or parental rights limitations. Making sure you have the guidance of an experienced family law attorney can ensure that your rights and your child’s best interests are protected.Consult a Child Custody Lawyer in Nashville or Beyond
The decision to move out of state, or far away, is often a big one for your family, involving significant changes to your children’s lives. If you need to relocate, or if you believe a move would be detrimental to your child, the Nashville child custody attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC can help you pursue the best solution for your family. We also represent people in Franklin, East Nashville, Green Hills, Hermitage, and other areas in Davidson and Williamson Counties. Call us at 615-800-7096 or contact us online to discuss your options.