Do you have visitation rights to your children with your ex-spouse or ex-partner though you don’t have custody? Though many people use the word “custody” quite loosely, it is a word that people typically use to describe the parent that has the right to designate the child’s residence. What happens if you are exercising visitation that the court awarded you, but then your ex decides to move to another city? What if they are planning on moving out of the state or even out of the country? It is not uncommon for the custodial parent to want to move out of state or further, especially if there is no prior court order explicitly forbidding it. In this blog, we’ll go over what is expected of the custodial parent if they want to relocate and what the non-custodial parent can do if they would like to open a case against the custodial parent.
Texas law encourages parents to have equal access to their children. Family law court orders concerning child custody often require the custodial parent to live in a specific geographical area, generally, the county where the children currently reside or even possibly the adjoining counties. Additionally, the custodial parent must allow the non-custodial parent maximum visitation time with the children.
Custodial parents who need to move out of the designated area must give the non-custodial parent at least 60 days’ written notice of the move and petition the court for permission. If the non-custodial parent does not object to the move, the parents need to file a document with the court stating they both agree to move the child and outlining how visitation will be conducted.
If the non-custodial parent objects to the move, the court will have a hearing where both sides present evidence to support why the move should or should not be allowed. The parent who wants to relocate must show there has been a “material and substantial change in circumstances” since the prior order, and there are compelling reasons for the move. Compelling reasons may include relocation for a job or being closer to other family members that can help care for and support the children.
The court bases its decision on what is in the best interest of the children. If the court believes the custodial parent wants to move to disrupt the relationship with the non-custodial parent, the court will deny the request to move.
If you are a custodial parent who needs to relocate, or a non-custodial parent who objects to the relocation of the custodial parent, family law attorneys experienced in custody issues can help. You can schedule a call today to speak with someone from our team.
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