Tennessee Child Custody Statutes


Selected Tennessee Child Custody Statutes

Updated as of Dec. 19, 2014.  The Tennessee Legislature amends and enacts new family laws every year.  Always check for the most current law.

36-6-108.  Parental relocation.

  (a) If a parent who is spending intervals of time with a child desires to relocate outside the state or more than fifty (50) miles from the other parent within the state, the relocating parent shall send a notice to the other parent at the other parent’s last known address by registered or certified mail. Unless excused by the court for exigent circumstances, the notice shall be mailed not later than sixty (60) days prior to the move. The notice shall contain the following:

   (1) Statement of intent to move;

   (2) Location of proposed new residence;

   (3) Reasons for proposed relocation; and

   (4) Statement that the other parent may file a petition in opposition to the move within thirty (30) days of receipt of the notice.

(b) Unless the parents can agree on a new visitation schedule, the relocating parent shall file a petition seeking to alter visitation. The court shall consider all relevant factors, including those factors enumerated within subsection (d). The court shall also consider the availability of alternative arrangements to foster and continue the child’s relationship with and access to the other parent. The court shall assess the costs of transporting the child for visitation and determine whether a deviation from the child support guidelines should be considered in light of all factors including, but not limited to, additional costs incurred for transporting the child for visitation.

(c) If the parents are actually spending substantially equal intervals of time with the child and the relocating parent seeks to move with the child, the other parent may, within thirty (30) days of receipt of notice, file a petition in opposition to removal of the child. No presumption in favor of or against the request to relocate with the child shall arise. The court shall determine whether or not to permit relocation of the child based upon the best interests of the child. The court shall consider all relevant factors including those factors found in § 36-6-106(a)(1)-(15).

(d)  (1) If the parents are not actually spending substantially equal intervals of time with the child and the parent spending the greater amount of time with the child proposes to relocate with the child, the other parent may, within thirty (30) days of receipt of the notice, file a petition in opposition to removal of the child. The other parent may not attempt to relocate with the child unless expressly authorized to do so by the court pursuant to a change of custody or primary custodial responsibility. The parent spending the greater amount of time with the child shall be permitted to relocate with the child unless the court finds:

      (A) The relocation does not have a reasonable purpose;

      (B) The relocation would pose a threat of specific and serious harm to the child that outweighs the threat of harm to the child of a change of custody; or

      (C) The parent’s motive for relocating with the child is vindictive in that it is intended to defeat or deter visitation rights of the non-custodial parent or the parent spending less time with the child.

   (2) Specific and serious harm to the child includes, but is not limited to, the following:

      (A) If a parent wishes to take a child with a serious medical problem to an area where no adequate treatment is readily available;

      (B) If a parent wishes to take a child with specific educational requirements to an area with no acceptable education facilities;

      (C) If a parent wishes to relocate and take up residence with a person with a history of child or domestic abuse or who is currently abusing alcohol or other drugs;

      (D) If the child relies on the parent not relocating who provides emotional support, nurturing and development such that removal would result in severe emotional detriment to the child;

      (E) If the custodial parent is emotionally disturbed or dependent such that the custodial parent is not capable of adequately parenting the child in the absence of support systems currently in place in this state, and such support system is not available at the proposed relocation site; or

      (F) If the proposed relocation is to a foreign country whose public policy does not normally enforce the visitation rights of non-custodial parents, that does not have an adequately functioning legal system or that otherwise presents a substantial risk of specific and serious harm to the child.

(e) If the court finds one (1) or more of the grounds designated in subsection (d), the court shall determine whether or not to permit relocation of the child based on the best interest of the child. If the court finds it is not in the best interests of the child to relocate as defined herein, but the parent with whom the child resides the majority of the time elects to relocate, the court shall consider all relevant factors including those factors found in § 36-6-106(a)(1)-(15).

(f) The court shall consider the availability of alternative arrangements to foster and continue the child’s relationship with and access to the other parent. The court shall assess the costs of transporting the child for visitation, and determine whether a deviation from the child support guidelines should be considered in light of all factors including, but not limited to, additional costs incurred for transporting the child for visitation.

(g) Nothing in this section shall prohibit either parent from petitioning the court at any time to address issues, such as, but not limited to, visitation, other than a change of custody related to the move. In the event no petition in opposition to a proposed relocation is filed within thirty (30) days of receipt of the notice, the parent proposing to relocate with the child shall be permitted to do so.

(h) It is the legislative intent that the gender of the parent who seeks to relocate for the reason of career, educational, professional, or job opportunity, or otherwise, shall not be a factor in favor or against the relocation of such parent with the child.

(i) Either parent in a parental relocation matter may recover reasonable attorney fees and other litigation expenses from the other parent in the discretion of the court.

 

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