There are many reasons a child’s parent may choose to relocate. However, when a couple legally separates and one parent decides to move away from the other, it can complicate the custodial arrangement in place. In these situations, it is best to work with legal counsel on resolving custodial disputes over relocation of a parent.
If you plan on relocating and are experiencing child custody issues as a result, discuss your situation with a dedicated attorney at our firm. A relocation lawyer could help you find an amicable solution that satisfies all parties and promotes the child’s best interests.
Relocating with a Custody Arrangement in Place
In Texas, divorced parents are encouraged to maintain a relationship with their children. To this effect, the state’s Family Law Code asks parties to agree on parenting decisions, and most divorce decrees require parents to live within a particular geographic range.
If a couple’s final divorce decree contains a domicile restriction provision, there are requirements for a parent to relocate with the child. If the custodial parent wishes to move, they must file a petition with the family court to modify the decree to allow for their relocation.
Requirements if Parents Agree on Relocation
If the noncustodial parent agrees to their relocation, the child’s parents will need to file a written agreement with the court. This document should provide any stipulations that are associated with the parent’s relocation. Failing to do this allows the noncustodial parent to file a motion with a court to enforce the domicile restriction provision.
Contested Relocation Cases
In some cases, the child’s noncustodial parent may not agree to the custodial parent’s relocation. For contested cases, the custodial parent may file a lawsuit against the noncustodial parent and the court will determine whether to modify the decree to allow for the relocation. In any relocation case, divorced Texas residents should consult a well-practiced attorney to help determine the best course of action.
Factors in Child Custody Relocation Cases
The court will consider several factors when determining whether to allow for a custodial parent’s relocation. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The reasons for and against the move
- Comparison of education, health and leisure opportunities between the proposed location and the existing one
- The effect on extended family relationships
- The effect on visitation and communication with the noncustodial parent
- Whether the noncustodial parent has the ability to relocate
- The child’s welfare and whether each parent can make it their first priority
- What the child prefers (particularly for older children)
- If each parent is capable of fostering a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent
- The potential impact of relocation on the child’s development
- The child’s needs and how they may be affected if their parent relocates
In any case, the child’s best interests are always the top priority for the court. When looking to amend a divorce decree to allow for relocation, parents should speak with a skilled lawyer at our Austin or Dallas office.
Speak to an Experienced Relocation Lawyer about Your Case
Certain life events, such as a career change or remarriage, may require you to relocate. However, a current custodial arrangement with your former spouse may make it difficult to move without legal assistance. An experienced attorney could also help you consider how a move might impact your children, since this will be a major factor in whether the courts will grant your request.
If you are in this position, discuss your situation with a relocation lawyer to learn your legal options. Call today to schedule a risk-free consultation with a member of our team.