Parental Relocation

In Texas divorces, parents or the court often establish joint managing conservatorship of a minor child. Although the child typically spends more time with one parent, both parents may agree not to designate a "primary parent." Often in these situations, the parents do not designate a specific residence for the child, but typically agree that the child must reside within a specified geographic area.

Under Texas Family Code, it is presumed that, unless proven otherwise, it is in the best interest of a child to remain in the same area as the noncustodial parent. When this determination has been made, the child's residence is bound to the county the noncustodial parent lives in or a county connected to his or her home county.

Moving Visitation And Texas Child Custody

Regardless of whether you have a court order specifying the geographic area in which your minor child must live, you are required to provide notice to the noncustodial spouse if you wish to move. The noncustodial parent has a right to challenge your attempt to move and may seek a temporary restraining order prohibiting you from relocating pending a hearing with the court.

It is the policy of the state to:

  • Assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child
  • Provide a safe, stable and nonviolent environment for the child
  • Encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage

Petitioning For Parental Relocation

Exceptions are made, however. If you are subject to a court order designating the area in which the child must reside, you must file a petition with the court seeking permission to move outside of that area.

At a court hearing, you will be asked to show compelling reasons why you should be allowed to relocate. These may include:

  • You lost your job and your only employment opportunities are in another city or state
  • You have remarried and your new spouse has been transferred to another city or state
  • Your ex-spouse has shown a pattern of abusing or harassing you
  • Benefits to the child, including educational or emotional

If the non-primary parent moves outside of the geographic area designated by the court, then the restriction is automatically removed.

The reasons for one parent wanting to move are balanced against the reasons the other parent wants the child to stay. Each case is determined based upon its own merits.

Whether you are asking the court for the right to move or you want to protect your relationship with your child by preventing a move by the child's other parent, it is vital to have an experienced family law attorney in your corner.

At the law firm of Lisa E. McKnight, P.C., in Dallas, we assist with post-divorce modifications that allow a divorced parent to move with a child outside of a geographic boundary that was designated in the original divorce decree. We also represent parents who want to oppose a proposed move.

Lawyer Lisa E. McKnight can answer your questions regarding parental relocation or any other divorce matter. She is able to assess the facts of your case and recommend the best course of action. Call 214-528-4191 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.