Relocating With Children After a Tennessee Divorce

Relocating With Children After a Tennessee Divorce

  • Mar 30 2017

Under Tennessee law, can I move out-of-state with my child if I share custody with my ex?

Moving on after divorce can at times involve physically moving.  Divorced parents may wish to relocate out of state for any number of reasons, include job opportunities or family ties.  When parents share custody of a child, however, moving can become quite complex.  Recently, the Tennessee Supreme Court issued an important decision clarifying the rights of a parent to relocate with their child.  Our Tennessee family law attorneys at Chadwick and Tignor, P.C. discuss the case of Aragon v. Aragon and your ability to move out of state with your child post-divorce below.

Aragon v. Aragon

In the case of Aragon v. Aragon, the father and mother of a young daughter divorced in 2010.  The mother worked abroad for some time while the father remained in Tennessee and cared for the child.  Two years later, the father decided to relocate to Arizona to accept a new job and be closer to family.  When the mother objected, the father sought permission in trial court to proceed with the move. The trial court denied the father’s petition, and the court of appeals upheld the decision.

The case reached the Tennessee Supreme Court, where the high court reversed.  It held that under Tennessee’s Parental Relocation Statute, when a parenting plan is in place, the trial court shall allow the parent who spends more time caring for the child to relocate with the child, unless the parent opposing the move can prove one of the following three grounds:

  1. The move poses a threat of serious harm to the child;
  2. The relocating parent’s motive in moving is vindictive; or
  3. The move does not serve a reasonable purpose.

In its decision, the Supreme Court ordered the trial court to designate the father as primary residential parent and grant him permission to move because the mother had not proven one of the three grounds to block the move.

As the Aragon case illustrates, moving when you are sharing custody of your child can pose challenges.  If you are seeking to relocate with your child or want to prevent your former spouse from moving out of state with your child, contact our experienced Middle Tennessee family law attorneys at Chadwick and Tignor, P.C. today.  We provide compassionate and knowledgeable representation aimed at achieving the best outcome for you and your child.

Posted in: Divorce