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Child Custody

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CaseCassidy Lynne Aragon v. Reynaldo Manuel Aragon

Issue:  What is a “reasonable purpose” for custodial parent relocation?

Facts:  Father petitioned to relocate to Arizona for an employment opportunity. Mother opposed on the basis that the proposed move served no “reasonable purpose” pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-6-108. The trial court agreed with Mother and declined to modify the parenting plan.

Appellate Decision:  In a 2-1 decision, the intermediate court affirmed denial of the petition to relocate on the basis that the proposed move was not sufficiently “significant” to be “reasonable.” Judge McBrayer, dissenting, wrote that case law has gone astray in defining a “reasonable purpose” to be “substantial” or “significant,” and that under the facts of this case, the father’s justification met the threshold.

Review Granted:  March 23, 2016.

Prediction:  Ben thinks the dissent is correct in noting that the Court of Appeals has improperly expanded the statutory standard, and the Supreme Court will rein in the verbiage. Whether that will substantively affect the operation of the law is a different question.