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Can one parent who shares custody take the children out of state?

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2023 | Child Custody

Co-parenting relationships can be fraught with tension. Many parents have a hard time setting aside their personal feelings about their former partner and will let their emotions determine how they handle matters with their children as a result. Issues ranging from where the children will attend high school to what sports they can participate in may trigger disputes between co-parents.

One parent’s desire to take the children out of the state could very well trigger fear or resentment in the other. Sometimes, parents disagree about whether interstate travel for a vacation or family reunion is appropriate. Other times, the out-of-state travel concerns extend to the possibility of parental relocation. One parent may have started a new relationship or received a job offer that could inspire them to leave Tennessee.

Custody orders and state law determine what happens

Many people include terms in their custody paperwork that specifically address interstate and international travel. For example, parents may allow travel to another state with a certain amount of advance notice. International travel, likewise, may have certain rules already in place regarding the timing of the travel and the obligation of the parent arranging to travel to cover all of the costs.

In cases where there are concerns about the possibility of interstate or international child abduction, one parent may oppose the other’s travel with the children because they worry that it will affect their relationship. Parents will generally need to abide by their custody order when making travel plans. The parent hoping to travel or the parent wanting to prevent the other from taking the children out of state could potentially initiate litigation in the family courts to address a specific situation.

When it comes to a move or relocation, the rules are a bit different. Generally, the parent attempting to leave the area will need the permission of the other parent or the approval of the courts to do so. If the parents do not agree about a relocation that would affect the custody arrangements, they may need to take the matter to family court. A judge would then determine if the relocation is appropriate or not. They will generally defer to the children’s best interests when making that determination as opposed to what the parents desire.

The idea of having the children travel out of state or relocate to a place far away often strikes fear in the hearts of parents. Understanding the Tennessee approach to out-of-state travel and relocation requests may help co-parents better assert their rights in a situation where they disagree about travel or a move.

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