There are many reasons that families decide a move to a different state is the best choice for them. However, when your child’s other parent doesn’t live there, the best course of action is not so quickly settled. If you are considering a move out of state and you share custody of your child, or there is an existing order in place, you will need to know what you can and cannot do.
Can You Move Out of Texas?
The existing order will likely include language or terms that prohibit parents from moving out of a specific geographical area with the child. This may appear under “geographic restriction” in your decree. This area is sometimes a city and surrounding locations or a set number of miles, and it often includes state lines. If you want to move out of Texas with your child, you may be required to get an amended order allowing you to do so.
Even in the absence of a court order that restricts relocation, it is a good idea to provide the other parent with sufficient notice of your intention to relocate. This is because both parents are often joint managing conservators, meaning, among other things, that they share the decision-making responsibilities for their children. It may be the case that both you and your child’s other parent agree the move is beneficial, and you can proceed as planned.
Ideally, co-parenting would go smoothly, and agreements could be made on future arrangements such as parenting time. However, this is often not the case. If you anticipate or are currently experiencing difficulties with co-parenting, The Werner Law Group has a compassionate and highly qualified team of family law experts ready to help you with your case.
Do I Have to Get Permission from the Other Parent?
To limit contentious feelings, consent from your child’s other parent would be a nice option, but it isn’t necessarily required. If your ex does not want you to move out of state with your child, they can complete a legal filing called a temporary restraining order that will temporarily prevent you from moving. The ultimate outcome will depend on the court hearing, which is initiated once one parent files with the court to stop the relocation.
What Happens at the Hearing?
You will be expected to prove why a move out of state with your child is in the best interest of the child. The judge will look for compelling evidence that this is the best option. Specifically, the court will consider your reasons for wanting to move across state lines, such as:
- Moving closer to extended family;
- Better job opportunities;
- Higher quality schools or education;
- Access to a particular service needed by the child; or
- Economic factors.
Of these reasons, services needed by the child, higher quality schools and education opportunities and a specific job offer making significantly more than the parent is making now would be the most important.
A move is not always optional, and a judge will take into consideration every relevant aspect of the situation. Other factors they will likely consider might include how easily accessible parenting time will be for the other parent, how willing the relocating parent is to facilitate exchanges and involvement, and sometimes the preference of the child (usually this is only after the age of 12). Waiting to find out if a move out of state with your child will be allowed can be stressful, but the best interests of your child are at the core of a court’s decision. Most of the Judges in Victoria and the surrounding counties are against out of state moving, so if your case is in the Golden Crescent, make sure it’s a good case for moving and you have an excellent family law attorney.
If you would like to discuss your specific relocation situation, or if you have other questions about your child custody or visitation matter, The Werner Law Group would love to help you. If you need immediate assistance, please feel free to text Leslie at 361-648-6888 seven days a week.