17 Jun 2012

TN Mother’s Relocation Denied To Be With New Canadian Internet Husband

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Tennessee law case summary on parental relocation in Tennessee divorce and family law from the Tennessee Court of Appeals.  To learn more, buy Miles Mason, Sr.’s book, Tennessee Parent Relocation Law, available on Amazon and Kindle.

Michael Andrew Carman v Kristi Michelle Carman – Relocation Denied

In this case, the mother wished to relocate with the parties’ seven minor children to reside with her new husband. The move was to Alberta, Canada with her husband who is a Canadian citizen the mother met on the Internet. The father objected to the relocation and he requested the court not allow the move.

In this case, Michael Andrew Carman, the father of the seven minors, and Kristi Michelle Carman Gallant, the mother, were divorced in November of 2008 after 12 years of marriage. At the time, the mother was the primary custodial parent and the father was granted visitation with the children two days per week, alternative holidays, and any addition to regular scheduled parenting time. This did not comprise roughly equal time.  At the time of the divorce, both parties lived in Middle Tennessee about 30-miles from each other.

In April of 2010, the mother sent a notice to the father that she planned to relocate to Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada, about 2,700 miles from the current home. The reason for location was that the mother planned to marry Tim Gallant, a resident of Canada. The father filed a Petition in Opposition of Relocation and for Modification of Residential Parenting in May of 2010. The request was for the mother not to have the ability to move the children and if the mother relocated, the father requested modification to the parenting plan designating the father as the primary residential parent. The mother filed a counter petition at that time, asserting it was in the best interest of the children that they had the ability to move and proposed granting the father six weeks of parenting time each summer and one week each during spring, fall, and Christmas in Canada.

The court held a hearing on April 20, 2011 to determine if relocation is for a reasonable purpose or if relocating would pose a threat or cause serious harm to the children.

In the hearing, the mother stated that she would be moving in to live with Mr. Gallant and his elder mother and that the currently home schooled children would remain receiving the same educational benefit. The mother met Mr. Gallant in December of 2009 and became engaged in April of 2010 when Gallant visited for the first time. The couple married April 10, 2011. She testified that the children would be able to communicate with the father as often as they would like to and stated there were hotels within 15 minutes of the house they planned to purchase.

For summertime visiting, the mother said she would drive the children the 2700-miles that would take four to five days to complete at seven to ten hours per day on the road, each way. It is not economically feasible for the children to fly. The father testified he was concerned he would lose touch with the kids and they would lose touch with their extended family that had provided the children with support since their birth.

The three older boys testified and stated they did not want to move to Canada away from their family. At the original hearing, the court denied the mother’s request to relocate finding that there is no reasonable purpose and that it threatened the specific and serious harm to the children. It was not in the children’s best interest.

The mother appealed this decision. In the appeals court, the court considered if the relocation of the parent was reasonable. The appeals court could not find fault in the decision of the lower court and the denial of the mother’s request to relocate because moving the children would put stress on them and that, although husband and wife would reasonably wish to live together, the move would not benefit the children.

Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Nashville, Appeal from the Chancery Court for Macon County, No. 4450, C.K. Smith, Chancellor.

Disclaimer: See original opinion for exact language. Legal citations omitted.

Memphis divorce lawyer, Miles Mason, Sr., JD, CPA practices family law exclusively and is founder of the Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC, which handles Tennessee family law matters including divorce, child support, alimony, prenuptial agreements, child custody, parental relocation, child support modification, and alimony modification.

Miles Mason

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Memphis divorce and family lawyer, Miles Mason, Sr. is the founder of Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC. For more information about our professional staff, see our Meet the Team page.

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