On the September 21st episode of Teen Mom, Maci prepares to move to Nashville to be with her new boyfriend Kyle. Maci and her son Bentley, have been living with Maci’s parents in Chattanooga, and her parents are less than thrilled that Maci and Bentley are moving over two hours away.  Ryan, Bentley’s father and Maci’s ex-fiance is also angry with Maci over her decision to move with their son.  The episode ends with Maci leaving Chattanooga and driving to her new home in Nashville.

Can Maci legally take Bentley and move to Nashville? The Tennessee statute governing this matter states that a parent desiring to relocate more than one hundred miles from the other parent within the state shall send a notice to the other parent sixty days prior to the move.  The notice must contain a statement of intent, location of the proposed new residence, reasons for proposed relocation; and a statement that the other parent may file a petition in opposition to the move within thirty days of receipt of the notice.  Since Nashville is over 130 miles away from Chattanooga, this statute applies in this case.  Maci did notify Ryan that she and Bentley were moving to Nashville so she could start over at a new school and be close to her new boyfriend Kyle.  Since Teen Mom is edited, we do not know when that notification occurred and if it was proper.

Ryan has previously threatened to take Maci to court over custody of Bentley and he was extremely unhappy when she told him she was moving to Nashville with Bentley.  Therefore, there is a strong possibility that Ryan will take Maci to court over her recent move to Nashville.  If he chooses to file a petition in opposition of Maci’s relocation the court will permit Maci to stay in Nashville with Bentley unless the court finds (1) there is no reasonable purpose for the relocation; (2) the relocation poses a threat of specific, serious harm to the child; or (3) the parent’s motive for the relocation is vindictive, as that concept is defined in the statute.

It is unlikely that Ryan will be able to establish one of the grounds set forth in the statute for several reasons.  First of all, Maci is transferring to a college in Nashville, so she has a reasonable purpose for relocation. Secondly,  Bentley is always well-taken care of in Nashville and has never appeared to be in any kind of danger.  Finally, while Maci and Ryan have a immature relationship, there is no evidence that she moved to Nashville with a vindictive motive.   Therefore, it is likely that a court will allow Maci  to keep Bentley in Nashville with her.  Stay tuned to see if Ryan files a petition in opposition to Maci’s relocation and takes this matter to court.

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