Are You or Your Former Spouse Planning a Move with Your Child?
When parents go through a divorce, it’s not unusual for one, or even both, spouses to move to another city, state, or country. The problem is that when children are involved and one of the parents wants to bring the children with them, that child may be bound by a child custody order from a Texas court.
Texas Family Code says that the ability of a divorced parent to move and take a child with them is dependent on the custody arrangement that was made during the divorce. So, before you make a decision about moving with your child, it is imperative that you understand the rules of Texas child custody.
What Is Your Custody Agreement?
The most popular type of custody agreement is joint custody. The court believes that in most cases, it is in the best interest of a child to have both parents in their life. Joint custody is also called joint managing conservatorship in Texas.
The parenting plan in a joint managing conservatorship will specify a geographical area in Texas in which the child will reside. This may be one particular county or an area that includes multiple counties. When a parent decides to move, whether they can relocate with the child depends on the custody arrangement.
The Court May Decide If Relocation is an Option
Unfortunately, when a divorced parent wants to move and take their child, they can’t just up and move. If the parenting plan specifies a particular county or region in which the child must stay, the parent wishing to move will have to petition the court and request to modify the order.
If there is no restriction, you still cannot move without considering the other parent’s wishes. If the other parent is against the move, they may file a motion with the court to prevent the move. Even in extenuating circumstances, such as military orders, the court must still be petitioned for approval.
The parent who is wishing to locate must notify the other parent detailing the proposed move. If they are in agreement, they can decide on the terms of the move on their own. If a disagreement arises, the court may determine what is in the best interest of the child. The judge may consider the following factors:
- The reason for the move.
- The child’s educational opportunities.
- The ability of the child to spend time with both parents.
- How the move will affect the parent’s ability to provide for the child.
The parent who wants to move must typically prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances and that the move is necessary for them to better provide for their child, such as a new job or job transfer to another city. Post-divorce agreements such as child support must also typically be modified if the move is approved.
Consult with an Experienced Divorce Attorney
Are you or your former spouse considering a move and want to take your child? You may need to speak to an attorney to be sure that the rights of you and your child are protected. The Houston attorneys at Lindamood & Robinson, P.C. have years of experience helping divorced families work out custody arrangements and can make sure that your post-divorce issues are handled as quickly and professionally as possible. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at one of our convenient Houston area locations.