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What happens if I need to move out of state with my child?

If you are a divorced Texas parent who has residential custody of your child, you may be surprised to learn that should your employer transfer you to another state, you cannot relocate without a judge’s permission. So says Section 153 of the Texas Family Code if your parenting plan and/or divorce degree contains a geographical restriction. Many Texas decrees and plans have one that specifies how far away you can move from where you presently reside.

Obviously the first thing you should do is reread your divorce documents to see if they include such a restriction. If so, the next thing you should do is contact your former spouse and make the most compelling case possible for your upcoming move. Be sure to emphasize that you are more than willing to meet with him or her to discuss constructing a new parenting plan that will allow him or her to continue to have frequent contact with the child.

If your child’s other parent consents to your relocation and the two of you have a new parenting plan to show the judge, it is highly likely that he or she will give you permission to move. If, however, your former spouse objects to your move, then both of you will need to go to court and present evidence backing up your respective positions.

Texas public policy regarding children and families

Texas has a strong public policy regarding children and their families. Its purpose is to accomplish the following three goals:

  1. That your child live in a stable and safe environment
  2. That you and your child’s other parent both spend as much time as possible with your child after your divorce and continue to share parenting responsibilities
  3. That you and your child’s other parent both continue to have regular contact with your child after your divorce

As in all court actions involving a child, the judge will consider all the evidence presented by both you and your former spouse to determine whether or not your proposed relocation is in the best interests of your child. 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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