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What questions should be asked when a parent relocates?

Generations ago it was not uncommon for some Tennessee residents to live within a few miles of where they were born. Families stayed close to each other and leaned on their loved ones in good times and in bad. While some individuals still call their childhood communities home, it is becoming more common for individuals to move, often more than once, for love, careers, and other reasons.

When a parent shares custody of their child with their ex, or when they have visitation rights to see their child, matters of relocation can be very tricky to address. While they may wish to do whatever they can to preserve their relationship with their child, they may also be hesitant to give up on an opportunity that could advance their life in either a professional or personal way. When considering a relocation that may impact custodial rights, parents should ask themselves several questions.

First, a parent may need to ask if they have the right to move with their child. A parent who lacks physical custody of their child may not have an option to take their child with them. However, if a parent has physical custody they may have some options for exploring whether their child can come with them as they move.

Second, a parent should ask themselves what they will need to do to maintain a schedule of visitation or custody with their child if they decide to move on their own. Courts can change how parents share in their rights to raise their kids and relocation may modify a parent's options for being involved in their child's life. Relocation is a big step in a family's life, even if that family is split by divorce. Parents facing these and other questions should consider talking to their divorce attorneys about their options and how their custody rights may be impacted if they move.

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