I live in Tennessee and I have a child custody question. My wife and I are still married and there has been no discussion of a divorce. Yet she wants to relocate to another state, take a new job and take our 10 year old daughter with her. I am the primary breadwinner, always have been and my business requires I stay in Tennessee. I am not willing or able to relocate the business (it is a music business that needs to stay in Nashville). I want to keep my daughter here, in the quality school system she's grown up in, and in her home. I need some advice on what my options are to prevent my wife from relocating our daughter and enrolling her in a school in another state.
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Tennessee
I haven't contacted anyone yet.
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Since there is currently not a court order regarding your child, both you and your wife had equal rights. Both of you has the right to relocate or travel with your child and to deny visitation to the other parent.
Usually in a circumstance like this, it would be advisable to obtain a court order regarding custody.
If your wife moves with your child, you will need to file a custody order in Tennessee asking the Court to return your daughter to Tennessee.
What if she files one first?
currently jurisdiction is in Tennessee.
When a custody action is filed, it must be filed in the home state of the child. The home state is the state in which the child has lived for the six months prior to filing. This is where jurisdiction will remain.
So she couldn't file in Pennsylvania right?
Pennsylvania would not have jurisdiction initially. After your child has resided there for 6 months, Pennsylvania would have jurisdiction and Tennessee would not
We've been married for 15 years, and never had any real problems. She just misses her home state and inherited her parents home a few years ago when they passed away. She has been wanting to go back for years...but we met in TN and have lived here all along.
I hate to ratchet this up to the next level
For fear of making matters worse.
I suggest that you retain local counsel. If your wife moves with your child to Pennsylvania, it will be difficult to compel her return.
You may want to ask your wife to move to Pennsylvania to "try out" the job without your daughter
I told her that I would be supportive of that, and would take care of our daughter here in TN
But that I wouldn't allow her to move the daughter away from TN
I'm just worried the other shoe is going to drop
So your advice is?
I cannot give you advice on this forum. I can give you legal information. Only your attorney can give you advice in a face-to-face meeting. Most people in this situation find it advantageous to obtain a custody order while the child is still living in the home state
I think this is what you wanted to know. Please let me know if I have answered your question or whether you would like further information
They are in Pennsylvania now and have been there for a month.
She is supposed to return in a couple weeks
That could change...if she decides to enroll our daughter in school in PA.
I hope not.
Does that change anything you've said?
Since she is already in Pennsylvania, when you the custody action in Tennessee, will need to ask the court to order your daughter's return to Tennessee. The longer your daughter resides in Pennsylvania, the less likely it is that the court will require her to return.
Okay. I'm sick to my stomach now.
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It's exactly what I needed to hear. I wouldn't want anything less than the unvarnished facts. I'll contact an attorney tomorrow. Thanks much. I will rate your service as excellent. Thank you.
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As it turns out, my attorney told me I could not apply for a custody order unless there was a filing for legal separation or divorce first. You failed to mention that and therefore, I believe your answer was incorrect. That puts an entirely new light on the matter.
You are living separate and living in a different state from your wife and children. After 6 months of living in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania will have jurisdiction.Here is a self-help book that may answer some of your questions:http://www.selegal.org/Self-Help/Booklets/INSTAGUIDE%20TO%20FAMILY%20LAW.pdf
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