The Tennessee Supreme Court recently decided on a major issue concerning parenting plan modification. The decision addresses the issue of which court can hear a post-divorce petition seeking modification of a parenting plan depending on the allegations contained within the Petition.
In July of 2018, the Tennessee statute which governs relocation of a parent with a minor child was amended. After custody or co-parenting has been established by the entry of a permanent parenting plan or final order, a parent who wishes to relocate outside the state or more than fifty (50) miles from the other parent within the same state, must send notice to the non-relocating parent at least sixty (60) days prior to moving with the child.
Child visitation rights are never something taken lightly by courts, and parties should never be afraid to pursue the proper legal remedies to make sure their rights are enforced. No matter the locale, courts generally abide by the belief that it is in the best interests of a child to spend time with both parents, and this certainly holds true in Tennessee. Because of the importance that courts place on the child's best interest when determining custody arrangements, child visitation rights can rarely, if ever, be legally denied by the custodial parent.
In April of 2016, the Tennessee General Assembly made a significant amendment to Tennessee's statutes concerning significant amendment to Tennessee's statutes concerning child custody and visitation, specifically in regard to parental relocation. Tennessee Code Annotated Section 36-6-108 is the controlling statute concerning when a parent may "relocate," that is move out of state, or at least 50 miles away from the other parent. Prior to this new amendment, TCA 36-6-108(a) merely listed requirements for when "a parent who is spending intervals of time...." decides to relocate. After the amendment, however, additional language has been added that now requires custody or co-parenting to be "established by the entry of a permanent parenting plan or final order..." in order for the statute to be applicable.
In an attempt to combat the rising number of infants requiring stays in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) after birth, Tennessee passed a bill in 2014 commonly referred to as the fetal assault law. Under this law, mothers could be prosecuted for the illegal use of drugs while pregnant, if the baby was born addicted to or harmed by the drugs taken by the mother. There were many opponents to this bill as most believed that this would not prevent the mother's drug use, but would simply deter her from seeking much needed prenatal care in order to avoid incarceration...and they were right.