Nashville, TN asked in Child Custody for Tennessee

Q: I have residential custody and my son(16) refuses to come back from his mothers house in another state, can I force him?

My son was there for summer when he started giving me ultimatums, saying how hard he was going to make it for me if I didn’t let him stay, I caved and allowed him to stay. I took custody from his mother in 2018 after DCS got involved which she moved to Florida after.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Bob G Huddleston Jr.
Bob G Huddleston Jr.
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Cordova, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: I hate to say this, but . . . it depends.

It *appears* your son's absence from Tennessee is temporary and for less than six months, so jurisdiction should still lie with Tennessee and you will need to file something in a Tennessee court.

As there was a prior "removal" of the child from his mother by the state, it sounds like there was a prior dependency and neglect case. If that's true and if there was a finding of Dependency & Neglect against the mother and not against you, you have a serious advantage in court.

In that case, if it was in Tennessee then it would likely have been in a Juvenile Court that still has original and exclusive jurisdiction over the matter.

As to what can be done, you need to contact a lawyer local to you with the relevant experience.

If you're in middle Tennessee, someone like Attorney Amanda Thonton should be able to help you or refer you to someone else depending on the overall facts of your case.

In any event, find a lawyer close to the court with jurisdiction who also has experience practicing in front of those magistrates/judges.

And do something as quickly as feasible. The longer you go without asserting your rights, generally the worse things can get in custody disputes

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