Joint Custody

How far away can a parent move within the state with joint custody?

If the parent has joint custody, how far away can a parent move within the state?

Tennessee state law on joint custody

Under Tennessee state law, a parent that has legal joint custody of a child is restrained from moving outside of the state or over 50 miles away from the other parent without the express permission of the other parent or a court order. 

The Tennessee Parental Relocation Statute (T.C.A. § 36-6-108) governs the procedures to be followed in the event a relocation is desired. It reads in pertinent parts as follows:

(a) After custody or co-parenting has been established by the entry of a permanent parenting plan or final order, 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 a proposed new residence;
      3. Reasons for proposed relocation; and
      4. A statement that absent agreement between the parents or an objection by the nonrelocating parent within thirty (30) days of the date notice is sent by registered or certified mail in accordance with this subsection (a), the relocating parent will be permitted to do so by law.


(b) Absent agreement by the parents on a new visitation schedule within thirty (30) days of the notice or upon a timely objection in response to the notice, the relocating parent shall file a petition seeking approval of the relocation. The nonrelocating parent has thirty (30) days to file a response in opposition to the petition. In the event no response in opposition is filed within thirty (30) days, the parent proposing to relocate with the child shall be permitted to do so.

In short, if an agreement cannot be reached between the parents and an opposition to the relocation is filed, the court will determine whether relocation is in the best interest of the minor child. 

To determine what is in the best interest of the child, the court will consider a number of factors, which are outlined in subdivision (c)(2) of the statute.

If the court finds that relocation is in the best interest of the child, the court will modify the partiesparenting schedule as needed to accommodate the distance between the partieshomes. 

Also, If the court finds that relocation is not in the best interest of the child, the court will enter a modified parenting schedule to become effective only if the parent proposing to relocate chooses to do so despite the court’s decision to deny the parent’s petition.

The bottom line

Understanding the laws regarding joint custody in Tennessee can be a daunting task for many. A lot depends on who you hire! If you need legal counsel or assistance with interpreting joint custody laws, let us know. At the Law Office of Scott Kimberly, we’re here to help. Contact us today and speak with a family law attorney. 

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