Custodial parents take on much of the responsibility of childcare, and that includes an obligation to raise the child in close proximity to the other parent. Custody arrangements can be complex, making it difficult for the custodial parent to relocate to be closer to family or take a new job.
Family courts in Texas facilitate the involvement of both parents. A custodial parent’s move to a new region can make it difficult or impossible for the noncustodial parent to see the kids frequently. For this reason, divorce decrees include domicile restrictions. The custodial parent must win a modification of the decree to take the child out of the area.
When parents disagree about relocating a child, a court fight may ensue. Generally, the non-custodial parent can refuse to allow the child to move. However, sometimes parents are in agreement that the relocation serves the best interests of the child.
When Both Parents Are in Agreement About Relocation
When parents agree about relocation, they can avoid taking the matter to court. Rather, they can agree on a visitation schedule. However, family law lawyers recommend making a formal, written agreement. This prevents misunderstandings and sets expectations.
If Your Ex Objects to Your Relocation
If you are a custodial parent who needs to relocate, your ex can object and prevent your moving plans–at least if you want to take the child. Texas courts intervene only if the other parent takes the matter to court. If possible, convince your ex to agree that the move suits the best interests of the child and visitation will still be regular.
However, your ex may put up a fight, in which case you will need to petition the court for a modification of the domicile restriction. Judges consider several factors when deciding on the modification, including the following:
Your Reason for Moving
The court must consider your motivation in moving. Judges need to see that you are acting in good faith and in the interest of your child. For instance, you could make the argument that the move is necessary for career advancement, which will benefit the child financially.
Judges may also favor a move that increases the child’s educational prospects.
However, if your motivation is to prevent the other parent from seeing the kid, a court is unlikely to be persuaded to modify the order.
The Level of Disruption for the Noncustodial Parent
The courts tend to believe that parental alienation is damaging toward a child. Therefore, judges must consider how the move will impact the non-custodial parent’s access to the child. In winning a modification, it helps to show that visitation schedules will be maintained. Additionally, the court will consider the noncustodial parent’s visitation record. An absent noncustodial parent is unlikely to prevail
The Effect on Relationships with Other Family Members
Relationships with children are precious, and the court must consider how the relocation will impact the child’s contact with other family members, such as siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. The court recognizes how important relationships with members of both sides of a child’s extended family can be and will calculate your proposed move’s effect on these relationships.
The Wishes of the Child
Courts factor in the wishes of the child where possible. When a child is enthusiastic about relocating, the court takes it into consideration.
Each case is unique and family court judges must consider other relevant factors. Ultimately, the decision comes down to the court’s view of the child’s best interests.
Work Closely with an Experienced Relocation Lawyer in Dallas, TX
If life has intervened, as life often does, and you need to relocate with your children post-divorce, you’ll likely need a relocation modification. While this can be a tricky process, resourceful Dallas relocation lawyers at Aberdeen Family Law are adept at helping clients like you conquer the obstacles to relocation – while ensuring their children’s best interests are protected. To learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at (972) 914-3986 today.