Texas Custody Agreements and How They Limit Your Ability to Relocate
If you are the custodial parent and would like to move out of state, you’ll need a judge’s permission in most cases. This is because Texas typically limits where the custodial parent can move to, if they wish to take the child with them. Even if the original custody agreement does not limit relocation with the child, the non-custodial parent can file a temporary restraining order to prevent the move until an agreement can be reached. If at all possible, include long-distance custody options in the original agreement to protect yourself in the event of a need to move out of state.
Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
Texas law governing child custody arrangements when the child’s home state is Texas is called the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction & Enforcement Act. Along with establishing court processes for establishing custody, this act works to uphold and enforce the custody agreement previously reached. In particular, the law states that the Hague Convention will be enforced in cases of children unlawfully removed from their home state. For custodial parents looking to move, whether into or out of Texas, the law makes it clear that proper legal permissions need to be granted first to avoid child abduction charges, fines, and jail time. It also means that the new state of residence will be required to enforce the custody agreement reached in Texas, even if the move is done legally.
Getting a Move Approved
If you are the custodial parent and wish to relocate, whether out of state or just out of the standard 100-mile radius allowed for in custody agreements, your case will likely wind up in court. You should be prepared to prove that there is a legitimate reason for moving, such as a job only available away from your current home or moving nearer to family who will help you care for the child. Once you have established your reason for moving, the judge will consider other factors, such as:
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- Whether or not the move might isolate the child from the non-custodial parent
- Previous parental agreements
- Distance and travel costs
- Impact on the child in terms of education and community
The goal of the court is to ensure the best possible future for the child, so any evidence you can offer that the move will improve the child’s educational opportunities, relationship with other relatives, or safety will be useful. If the non-custodial parent is opposed to the move, and your previous agreement prevents you from moving out of state, you will have more difficulty getting the move approved. However, a move that is truly in the child’s best interests can still be approved with the help of an experienced attorney.
A Family Law Attorney Can Help
If you are a custodial parent seeking to relocate, don’t wait to contact an experienced family law attorney. The Houston attorneys at Lindamood & Robinson, P.C. can help you to build your case and increase your chances of making the best move for your family. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.