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Parental Relocation: Our McKinney Family Lawyers Can Assist
There are a variety of reasons why one or both parents may wish to relocate during or after a divorce. Whether to pursue a job opportunity, get a fresh start or simply try something new, it is common for divorcing and separated spouses to consider moving at various stages in their lives.
Under Texas’s child custody laws, parental relocation during or after a divorce will often be subject to court approval or challenge by the other parent. Texas law focuses on protecting the best interests of the children involved; and, in most cases, this means maintaining regular contact with both parents. If one parent wishes to move across Texas or across state lines, for custody purposes (legally referred to as “conservatorship” in Texas), the proposed move must satisfy the requirements of Texas law.
When Is Parental Relocation Allowed?
Many parents are surprised to learn that getting divorced restricts their freedom to move. In Texas, custody agreements and final custody orders will typically include geographic restrictions; and, in order to have these restrictions lifted, a parent must present a compelling reason to the court. The Texas courts consider requests for parental relocation on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration factors such as:
- The reason for the proposed relocation
- Each parent’s current level of involvement with the child
- The effect of the proposed move on the child
- The effect of the proposed move on the parents’ respective custody and visitation rights
- Other factors affecting the best interests of the child
Although the reason for a parent wishing to relocate may not seem directly relevant to the child’s best interests, this is a key factor in parental relocation cases. The Texas courts generally require a material change in circumstances in order to modify a custody order, and wanting to move for the sake of moving may not be sufficient to convince a judge to permit a relocation – particularly when there are countervailing factors. A request to relocate in order to pursue a unique career opportunity is more likely to receive approval (though, once again, all relevant factors will weigh in the court’s decision), while relocating in order to interfere with the other parent’s relationship with the child is not permitted.
Experienced Legal Representation for Parental Relocation Matters
Our McKinney family lawyers routinely represent parents in relocation matters. We have experience representing both custodial and non-custodial parents, and we can help you seek approval to relocate or challenge your former spouse’s request to move. Parental relocation requests are serious matters that can have major implications for the children involved, and we focus on working with our clients to ensure that their needs are satisfied and while also ensuring that their children’s best interests are secure.
Speak With McKinney Family Lawyers in Confidence
If you need legal advice regarding a request for parental relocation, we encourage you to contact us for a complimentary initial consultation. With offices in McKinney, we represent clients throughout North Texas. To schedule an appointment at your convenience, please call us at (214) 726-1450 or request a confidential consultation online today.