New Change in Tennessee Statute Tightens Requirements for Notice of Parental Relocation

July 3, 2013
By The McKellar Law Firm, PLLC on July 3, 2013 9:36 AM |

Knoxville family lawyers and clients need to know about a recent change to an important state statute.

T.C.A. §36-6-108 governs the processes and procedures for co-parents who want or need to relocate outside of Tennessee or more than 100 miles from the other parent. The statute requires the parent desiring to relocate to send the other parent notice sixty (60) days prior to the move. That notice must contain the following information: (1) statement of intent to move; (2) location of proposed new residence; (3) reasons for proposed relocation; and (4) a statement that the other parent may file a petition in opposition to the move within thirty (30) days of receipt of the notice. Then, if there is no agreed upon schedule or consent to the move, litigation ensues. Either the relocating parent must file a Petition to Modify the Parenting Plan or the parent opposing the move must file a Petition in Opposition to the Relocation.

However, as of July 1, 2013, this statute will begin be applicable to all relocations that are 50 miles from the other parent, instead of 100 miles. This could mean that more parents will have to either agree upon or litigate new parenting plans. See the new statute change here.

If no agreement is reached, the statute tells trial courts to "consider all relevant factors, including 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."

Those factors can include: (1) the history of visitation; (2) If the primary residential parent, is likely to abide by a new schedule; (3) The love, affection and emotional ties; (4) Ability of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, education and other necessary care and the degree to which a parent has been the primary caregiver; (5) Continuity; (6) Stability of the family unit; (7) The mental and physical health of the parents; (8) The home, school and community record of the child; (9) (A) The reasonable preference of the child if twelve (12) years of age or older; (B) The court may hear the preference of a younger child upon request. (10) Physical or emotional abuse to the child, to the other parent or to any other person; and (11) The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent and such person's interactions with the child.

Of course, mediation will still be required by the Courts before a trial unless exigent circumstances exist.