In a divorce proceeding, it is not uncommon for the custodial spouse, namely the spouse who has primary care of the children, to relocate. This is typically because of a new job opportunity. Other factors also include better schools, healthcare, or joining other family members.
The real question is how this affects the other spouse who simply has visitation rights. Tennessee Statute 36-6-108 sets forth the rules to be followed.
The statute applies if you are moving out of state or moving more than 100 miles within Tennessee. The moving spouse must give at least 60 days notice by certified mail describing the intent to move, the new location, the reason for the move, and the statement that the other parent can file a petition in opposition.
Because the nonmoving parent typically is not able to visit the child as much, this will be considered by the court under TCA 36-6-108. The court can also impose the costs of transportation for the nonmoving parent to exercise visitation rights in the new location. This also may include the requirement of the child being transported back to the home location for the visitation, from time to time.
If the nonmoving parent spends about as much time with the child as the moving parent, that person can file a petition in opposition. There is no presumption in favor of the relocation, and it is based upon the best interest of the child.
One of the factors is both parents should have as much time as possible with the child and visitation should be frequent. If the effect of the relocation is to in essence deny visitation to them nonmoving spouse, this may be grounds for denying the move.
Also, if the child is 12 years of age or older, that boy or girl can express their preferences which will be considered by the court.
If there is any showing of physical or mental abuse of the child, the other parent usually wins out in such motions.
Court will also see if there is a reasonable and bona fide 1)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_faith reason for the move. If the reason for the move is simply to deny visitation rights, that move will be denied.
So as seen above, TCA 36-6-108 has very set rules that need to apply in such motions. This eliminates all the guesswork.
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