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What Factors Are Considered in Texas Parental Relocation Cases?

Posted on in Child Custody

TX divorce lawyerWhen parents get divorced, they may need to address a wide variety of complex child custody issues. In addition to determining how they will work together to raise their children going forward, they will need to make decisions about when children will spend time with each parent, who will have a say in major decisions about children’s lives, and other matters related to parents’ rights and responsibilities.

Whether parents are able to reach an agreement on these decisions, or a judge makes a final ruling on matters related to child custody, the terms of the parents’ divorce decree are meant to remain in place going forward. However, parents may wish to modify the terms of their parenting agreement in some situations, including cases where a parent plans to move to a new home with their children. Both parents will want to understand their rights and the procedures followed in cases involving parental relocation.

Parental Relocations and Geographical Restrictions

In most Texas divorce cases, parents will be named as “joint managing conservators” of their children. This means that they will share equal rights and responsibilities when making decisions about how their children should be raised. However, one parent will usually be granted the exclusive right to determine the children’s primary residence. This parent will typically be the “custodial parent” with whom children spend most of their time.

Even though one parent will be allowed to decide where children live, the court will usually not give them complete freedom to move their children to a new home anywhere they would like. To ensure that children can maintain a close relationship with the other parent, geographical restrictions may be placed on the custodial parent that state that they will only be allowed to live within a certain area, such as their current county and the counties that border it.

If a custodial parent wishes to move outside the area of geographical restriction, they will be required to pursue a modification of the order that established conservatorship, possession, and access for their children. In some cases, parents may be able to negotiate an agreement for how possession and access to their children will change. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, the parent who wishes to relocate must petition the court for a modification of the terms related to geographic restrictions.

When making a case for parental relocation, a parent will need to demonstrate that this relocation would be in their children’s best interests. In most cases, family courts prefer to have both parents maintain close contact with their children while ensuring that children live in a safe, stable environment. Typically, a relocation will only be granted if there has been a material and substantial change in the circumstances of either parent or the children, or if a child who is over the age of 12 has spoken to the judge in their chambers and stated a preference about which parent they would like to have the right to decide where they will live.

Contact Our Austin, TX Child Custody Lawyers

If you are concerned about geographical restrictions when relocating with your child, or if you want to make sure you can continue to maintain a good relationship with your child after your ex-spouse moves to a new location, Powers and Kerr, PLLC can assist with your case. We will help you understand your rights, and we will advocate for a resolution that will protect your child’s best interests. Call our Austin family law attorneys today at 512-610-6199.

 

Sources:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.156.htm

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.153.htm

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