Whether for work, family ties, or just a change of scenery, one partner often decides to move out of the area after a divorce. When parents of a child were never married to begin with, the likelihood that one parent will relocate may be even greater. 

Does one parent have the right to move far away and take the child along? A McKinney child custody lawyer looks at the laws involved and how they might apply in different situations. 

Courts Cannot Stop a Parent from Moving

 When looking at a relocation case, many people ask the wrong questions. Instead of asking whether a court can keep a parent from moving out of the area, they should ask whether a court can effectively keep the child in the area. The answer to that question is often “yes.”

Courts will not prevent a parent from leaving because parents have the right to move. However, parents also have rights with respect to access to their children, and courts will balance those competing rights. If a parent with custody decides to move far enough away to significantly change the child’s lifestyle and restrict access to the other parent, the court may modify custody arrangements to keep the child closer to their original home. The deciding factor is which situation is in the child’s best interests. However, the court may not take action automatically. A parent who wants to change a child’s location or stop a change in location may need to work with a McKinney child custody lawyer to file a motion to modify custody with the family court.   

Factors Courts Consider Before a Relocation Custody Modification 

Very often, child custody arrangements include geographic restrictions, so if a parent wants to relocate, they will need permission from the court. When deciding whether it is better for a child to move with one parent or change primary custody to reside with the other parent, the court will look at a wide array of factors. These include: 

  • The reasons for the move
  • The proximity of family members in the current location and the proposed new location
  • The distance and potential transportation issues
  • The safety and stability of each prospective environment
  • Each parent’s involvement with the child’s life

If the child is old enough, the court may consider the child’s preferences in custodial arrangements connected with a relocation. A dedicated McKinney child custody lawyer could help a parent present facts in a manner that shows how their preferences align with the child’s best interests. 

Work with an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in McKinney

Whether you are the parent seeking to relocate with your child or you want to modify custody to prevent your child from moving out of the area, it is a good idea to start working with a knowledgeable McKinney child custody lawyer early in the process. Courts will weigh considerable evidence before making a determination, and it can take time to prepare evidence to present the strongest possible case. 

At Nordhaus & Nordhaus, we understand that you want only the best for your child, and we will fight to help you achieve the right outcome for your family. For a free, confidential consultation to learn more about how we could help, contact us now.