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Child Custody and Relocation in Tennessee

January 24, 2020

Photo of a family with parenting time doing family mediation, and discussing child custody with Lebanon TN attorney - best in Wilson County, Mt. Juliet and Cookeville.

After a divorce between two parents, custody over the children is a complicated process. In addition to ensuring you have the proper family law representation, all of your documents and information in order, and coming to an agreed-upon solution, you now have to uphold a parenting schedule, child support payments and so much more.

But what happens when your job, a family emergency, or another situation requires you to move? Your parenting plan then has to be altered to accommodate for travel, expenses, and other factors. On top of that, what will the other parent think? Is your relocation allowed within the parenting plan?

During these trying times, Hagar & Phillips has your best interests in mind and will guide you through the multitude of questions you may have.

Your Relationship in the Parenting Plan 

Much of this process depends on your relationship with the child according to the custodial agreement. Meaning, are you the primary residential parent or alternate residential parent? In Tennessee, the state’s Supreme Court has ruled that a primary residential parent can move even in the objection of a non-primary residential parent if the relocation meets the following criteria:

  • The move is not vindictive
  • The custodial parent has a valid reason for the move
  • The move does not pose a specific risk of harm to the child

No matter the situation, you should always have a family law attorney by your side.

The Relocation and Child Custody Process

In the case that you or the other parent decides to move, the following process must be strictly adhered to.

  1. If the new location will be in another state or more than 50 miles away, the parent is required to send official notice via certified mail to the other parent’s last known address.  This must occur before and no later than sixty (60) days before the moving date.
  2. In the case that the other parent does not agree with the move or has reason to believe the move should not occur, he or she has thirty (30) days of receiving the notice to object.
  3. If both parents cannot come to an agreement on the custody schedule, the move, and other factors related to the situation such as costs, the court will then take all parental factors into consideration during the decision-making process.
  4. The court may hear the child’s preferences with regards to the relocation when the child is older than 12 years of age.

This particular description of the process is generalized and may not include all potential factors, such as equal shared custody, cost of living, and the health of those involved. Regardless of your personal predicament, well-being, or understanding of the relocation process with regards to child custody, always have a hard-working lawyer by your side.

The child custody attorneys at Hagar & Phillips are ready to fight for your relocation or visitation and custody rights. To learn more about your options and the child custody process, contact us to schedule your case consultation at our Lebanon, Tennessee office today.


The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.