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Knoxville Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Child Custody > You Need the Court’s Permission to Move Out of State If You Have Minor Children

You Need the Court’s Permission to Move Out of State If You Have Minor Children


It can be a relief to hold a divorce decree in your hands, especially after years of unsuccessful attempts to resolve your differences with your spouse, followed by a long and expensive court battle.  You might feel that you are finally free from the miserable life you shared with your ex-spouse, but if you and your ex have minor children together, the time when you never have to see your ex’s ugly face again doesn’t happen until your youngest child turns eighteen.  In other words, you are free to get a tattoo, blast your country music in the kitchen at 7:00 in the morning, ask your crush out on a date, and do almost all the things your ex told you not to do.  Starting a new life without your ex cannot, however, mean moving to another state, except with the permission of the e-spouse. If they object after being given notice, you will need to seek relief from the court.  If you want to move out of state with your children, or if your ex wants to move against your wishes, a Tennessee child custody lawyer can help you.

Details of the Dale Case

Steven and Sharon Dale divorced in 2011, when their three children were teenagers.  In 2014, each parent submitted a separate request for modifications to the parenting plan, with each requesting a greater share of parenting time for himself or herself.  In 2016, before a new parenting plan could be finalized, Sharon told Steven that she planned to move to Arizona, and Steven petitioned the court to order Sharon to remain in Tennessee.  The court reasoned that Steven and Sharon were already having enough trouble co-parenting that it had taken them two years to agree on a mutually satisfactory parenting plan, and that co-parenting from two different states would be even more of a challenge.  It also reasoned that Sharon had not provided a compelling reason for moving to Arizona and stated that it would be in the children’s best interests for both parents to remain in Tennessee.

Besides the issue of Sharon’s request to move, the court made other changes to the parenting plan, which by this time only applied to the parties’ two youngest children, because the oldest daughter had already turned 18 by 2016.  The middle daughter was 17, and the court let her decide how to divide her time between her parents; she chose to spend every day with her mother, and the court granted her request.  The court increased Steven’s parenting time with their son from 90 days per year to 161 days per year.  It also increased Steven’s child support obligations, making the amount especially high because he had not provided his tax returns despite repeatedly being asked to.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you want to move out of state with your children, you must work out all the details with your ex-spouse first; you will probably need the help of a child custody lawyer.  Contact Knoxville child custody attorney Patrick L. Looper for a consultation.




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