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Legal Information: Tennessee


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Laws current as of November 27, 2023

What happens if the other parent files a petition to oppose the relocation? How will the judge make a decision?

If the other parent files a petition in opposition to your relocation petition, it will be up to the judge to decide if the relocation is in the best interests of you child.1 The judge will consider the following factors:

  • the nature, quality, level of involvement, and length of time of the child’s relationship with the parent proposing to relocate and with the non-relocating parent, siblings, and other significant people in the child’s life;
  • the age, developmental stage, needs of the child, and the impact that the relocation will likely have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child;
  • how possible it will be to keep up the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child through an appropriate visitation arrangement, considering the logistics and financial circumstances of the parties – and if the relocation is granted, it’s possible the judge could change the child support amount to account for the increased transportation costs;
  • whether the relocating parent has an established pattern of either encouraging or discouraging the relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent;
  • whether the relocation of the child will improve the general quality of life for both the relocating parent and the child, including, but not limited to, any financial or emotional benefits or educational opportunity;
  • the reasons that the relocating parent wants to relocate;
  • the reasons that the non-relocating parent has for opposing the relocation;
  • any other factor affecting the best interests of the child, including the best interest factors that are considered in a regular custody determination; and
  • the child’s wishes. Note: If the child is twelve years of age or older, the judge must consider the child’s wishes. If the child is under twelve, the judge could listen to the child’s wishes if either parent requests it. The wishes of older children will usually influence the judge more than those of younger children.2

At the conclusion of the case, the judge has the power to order one parent to pay the other parent’s reasonable attorney fees and other litigation expenses related to the relocation court proceeding if the judge believes it is appropriate to do so.3

1 TN ST § 36-6-108(c)(1)
2 TN ST § 36-6-108(c)(2), (d)
3 TN ST § 36-6-108(f)