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Tennessee Supreme Court Clarifies the Parental Relocation Statute


One of the most important child custody issues is parental relocation.

With one of the largest army bases in the United States, Clarksville and Ft. Campbell often have to deal with parental relocation.

Often times, when people retire from the Army, they desire to return home to be with their family and bring their children with them. Depending on the custody situation, however, if the other parent disagrees with this parental relocation, he or she can ask the court to intervene.

How does the court determine parental relocation?

TN Supreme court changes Parental Relocation rulings

In order to determine whether a parent should move, the court first looks into the child custody arrangements. They will consider whether the parents share roughly equal parenting time with the child, or if the moving parent spends substantially more time with the child.

  • If the parties share roughly equal parenting time, then it makes it more difficult for one parent to relocate. In this case, the court will consider the best interests of the child.
  • If the moving parent spends substantially more time with the child, then the court must determine whether the move has a reasonable purpose, whether the move would pose a threat of specific or serious harm to the child, or if the moving parent’s reasons for moving are vindictive.

Which parent bears the burden of proof?

Recently, the Tennessee Supreme Court addressed the latter situation. In Aragon v. Aragon, the court clarified that the burden of proof rests on the parent opposing the move to prove why the moving parent should be unable to move with the minor child. Previously, some Tennessee courts had attempted to shift the burden to the moving parent in this situation, but the court confirmed that this was contrary to the statutory language and legislative intent.

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s decision will make it much easier for parents who spend substantially more time with the minor child to move. However, the three requirements will still be considered by the court, so it is important to hire an attorney to help determine whether a parent should be able to move with your child.

The process of relocating and child custody can be difficult and confusing. If you are intending to move, it is important to hire an attorney to assist you in ensuring that all of the statutory requirements have been met. Call us today to discuss how our experienced team of family lawyers can help you relocate. With hundreds of years of combined legal experience at Batson Nolan PLC, we are committed to our clients and to achieving results that exceed expectations.