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Am I allowed to move out of state with my child?

If you are a divorced Texas parent who is contemplating moving to another state due to a job transfer or some other reason, you need to be aware that Section 153 of the Texas Family Code restricts your ability to relocate. Actually, it may be your divorce decree and/or your parenting plan that restricts you.

Many Texas decrees and plans contain a geographical restriction setting forth how far away you and your child(ren) can move from your present residence. Therefore, the first thing you should do is reread your paperwork to see if it contains such a restriction. If so, you will need to go to court and get a judge’s permission in order to move.

Best interests of your child

Getting judicial permission to move out of state is not particularly difficult if your former spouse consents to it. If he or she refuses to consent, however, you must present compelling reasons for your move to the judge, including why this move is in your child’s best interests as well as your own. Your former spouse will likewise have to present compelling reasons for his or her objection to your move. At that point, it is up to the judge, after considering all relevant factors, to decide whether or not to grant you permission.

Parental relocation, as with everything having to do with children, must not go against Texas public policy regarding families. This policy seeks to accomplish three things for your children as follows:

  1. Assure that they have a safe and stable environment in which to live and grow up
  2. Assure that both of their parents share parenting responsibilities and time to the greatest extent possible
  3. Assure that both of their parents have frequent and continuing contact with them

While this information should not be taken as legal advice, it can help you understand the relocation process and what to expect.

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