Can I relocate with my children after my divorce?

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2022 | Family Law |

After a divorce in Tennessee, it may be many weeks or many months before your life starts to feel normal again. From the new living arrangement to the lower standard of living now that you only have your own income, it can take some time to adjust.

You may need to make some changes to reconnect with your inner sense of self and move on from the pain of your divorce. Some people think about going back to school when they divorce, while others realize that they need the support of family members who live far away.

Although divorce theoretically frees you from needing to consider your spouse’s feelings in every major decision, it can also tie you to your ex in a different way. When the two of you share children, you will typically have to cooperate and co-parent until they become adults. Can you potentially relocate as a parent in Tennessee hoping to pursue a better life after divorce?

Relocations require modifications

Tennessee custody orders generally limit how far you can move with the children following a divorce. If you intend to leave the state or move more than 50 miles away from the other parent, you will typically need approval from your ex or a modification issued by the family courts to move while sharing custody.

You have to notify the courts and your ex in writing of your intention to move at least 60 days before the move would take place, and then the other parent has an opportunity to respond. If they contest the request, then you will likely have to go to family court for a modification hearing. If they cooperate with you, the process will be much simpler. You simply negotiate a new co-parenting arrangement with one another and ask the courts to approve it.

In a contested modification request, you would need to convince the judge that your relocation will be beneficial for the children. After all, the most important factor in any custody decision will be what is best for the children. Instead of talking about your needs, providing documentation about the opportunities and support available for your children following the move may be a better approach.

Understanding how judges make decisions on relocation modification requests can help you present your case effectively and increase your chances of success.