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Knoxville Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Child Custody > What Constitutes a Reasonable Purpose for Moving Out of State with Your Children?

What Constitutes a Reasonable Purpose for Moving Out of State with Your Children?


Divorced couples who have children must cooperate to act in their children’s best interests, but there is a limit to how much your ex can meddle in your plans and veto your decisions.  For example, if your ex doesn’t like your new partner, they can limit the time your children can spend with the partner, but your ex can’t stop you from remarrying or stop your children from having a familial relationship with their stepparent.  When you have children, the conflicts you and your spouse had about money, work, and children’s behavior before you divorce do not automatically disappear just because you are newly single.  It is stressful when your spouse disagrees with a career move you want to make, but it can be even more stressful when you want to relocate for work after your divorce, and your ex-spouse is not onboard with the idea.  If your ex-spouse wants to stop you from moving out of town when you start a new job, you should contact a Tennessee child custody lawyer.

The Ear, Nose, and Throat Surgeon and the Dream Job

John Rudd and Debra Gonzalez, both physicians, got married sometime in the 1990s.  By the time they adopted their newborn daughter in 1999, John’s chronic illnesses had made it impossible for him to work as a physician for several years.  He had started a company that provides medical care to patients in correctional institutions, but he himself did not see patients.  Before the child’s birth, Debra had completed a fellowship in microvascular reconstruction and head and neck oncology after her residency in otolaryngology.  In 2001, Debra was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and had to stop practicing in her subspecialty of medicine.  Over the next several years, she sought a treatment to manage her symptoms and a medical field where she could get a less physically demanding job.

John and Debra’s divorce became final in 2010, and at first, they were able to co-parent harmoniously.  Meanwhile, Debra’s health improved to where she could practice as an otolaryngologist again.  At first, she sought positions in general otolaryngology near Franklin, Tennessee, but in the summer of 2011, she accepted a job at a university hospital in Illinois.  The job involved a year of paid retraining in head and neck cancer surgery, following which she would begin a faculty position, whereupon her salary would increase fourfold.  John tried to stop Debra from moving to Illinois with the child; he claimed that her motives for taking a job out of state were vindictive, and he sought to have himself named as the primary residential parent.  The court ruled that it would be less disruptive to the child to move to Illinois with her mother than to change primary residential parents.  When John appealed, the appeals court affirmed the trial court’s decision.

Let Us Help You Today

Your ex-spouse only has limited leeway to dictate your career choices after your divorce.  Contact Knoxville child custody lawyer Patrick L. Looper for help today.


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