How Do I Relocate with My Child Post-Divorce?

Not too long ago, most people lived their entire lives in a relatively small geographic area. Today, we’re a society on the move. It’s not unusual to relocate to another state or even another country to accept a job opportunity or join a new spouse.

This societal trend can present issues when you’re divorced and have children with your former husband or wife. Unless there is reason to do otherwise, Texas courts typically award joint managing conservatorship (known as joint legal custody in some states) to divorcing parents. This means that both of you share the right to make important decisions about your children’s lives, including where they will live.

Even if the children reside primarily with you, you can’t simply pack up and move with them, especially if your court order places a geographic restriction on their primary residence. Instead, Texas Family Code section 156.102 requires you to go to court and file a modification action. If the other parent opposes the move, they could file for a temporary restraining order preventing you from relocating until the court can hold a hearing.

You Must Meet the Best Interest of the Child Standard

When determining whether to grant your modification request, the court will consider what outcome is in the best interests of your children. Factors that it may take into account include:

  • The reason for the relocation. Are you accepting a good job offer or simply looking for a change of scenery?
  • How far away you propose to move. Is it only 50 miles away or halfway across the country?
  • The quality of the relationship between the children and their other parent. Does the parent faithfully observe the visitation arrangement and show interest in the children’s lives? Or do they routinely make excuses to cancel scheduled visits?
  • Whether the relocation would prevent the other parent from enjoying frequent and meaningful access to their children. Can they afford to pay for the necessary travel expenses?
  • How the move might affect the quality and regularity of the children’s contact with the noncustodial parent. While older children and teenagers could feasibly stay in touch by texting, email, and video chatting, younger children tend to need a physical, in-person connection.
  • The reason why your former spouse is opposing the move. Do they appear to be genuinely concerned about maintaining access to the kids or does it look like they might be motivated by spite?

Divorce may end a marriage, but it doesn’t mean that parents shouldn’t share the rights and responsibilities of raising their children. In most cases, a presumption exists that children should maintain close contact with both of their parents as long as it is in their best interests to do so. If your relocation request affects that relationship, the court could deny it, which is why you should be represented by an experienced Texas family law attorney.

Qualified and Compassionate Family Law Representation

There are several factors that go into deciding a child relocation case. If you want to relocate to improve your family’s circumstances or you are a worried non-custodial parent seeking to contest a modification request, let The Amsberry Law Firm help. Please reach out to us today at 1-210-354-2244 or contact our office online.

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Amsberry Law Firm

The Amsberry Law Firm, founded in 1995, has helped thousands of clients overcome their unique legal challenges.

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