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Parental Relocation

In Texas, If you are awarded primary custody of your children following a divorce, there is typically a “geographical restriction” which stipulates that you are not allowed to relocate far from your original residence without the approval of your ex-spouse or permission from the court. Since the other parent has shared rights, this prevents you from relocating because it violates their rights as a parent. If you try to move without permission from your ex-spouse or the court, you will be violating your obligations within the child custody order, and you could be held in contempt of court.

If you have good reason to move, the first thing to do is submit a request to the court. This is done through a Petition for Modification. The burden is on the petitioning spouse to prove the case in Court. The Court will review your case, and determine if it has merit. Furthermore, they will determine if relocation is in the best interest of the child. In general, courts favor parents who share custody of a child to live in the same state. Unless there is a history of violence or domestic abuse, or your ex-spouse is convicted of a felony, it might be difficult to make your case for relocation. This can be one of the most difficult issues to deal with in a Texas courtroom and often requires multiple hearings and litigation.

Factors That Courts Consider

As always, the courts will base their decision on the best interests of the child. A relocation will only be considered – not automatically allowed- if the court determines that it will benefit the child. The following factors will also be reviewed:

  • How interested the other parent is in remaining close to the child;
  • Connections to the new location (other family members, friends, etc);
  • A viable alternative visitation schedule;
  • The moving parent’s willingness to create a continued relationship between the child and the non-moving parent;
  • The age and maturity of the child;
  • The reason for the move;
  • How much the child understands about the consequences of moving.
  • This is just an example of the factors a Court considers when determining parental relocation.

In many instances, you are required to give your ex-spouse a 60-day notice before your intended relocation date. This gives you time to talk about the important issues attached to your relocation, such as visitation days, child support, and custody rights.

Remember, the court has final say when it comes to your relocation. It could prevent you from relocating, adjust the terms in your child custody agreement, or even order you to leave your child with the non-relocating parent if it finds that it is in the best interest of the child to stay.

With so much at stake, it would be a smart move to contact Texas family lawyer Daniella Lyttle at Lyttle Law firm so that we can help you put yourself in the best position to argue your relocation at court. We will help you create a strategy that can protect you and your child.

If you’re the non-relocating parent, we can also help you prevent a relocation. Attorney Daniella Lyttle at Lyttle Law firm will study your case to determine which course of action puts your child’s best interest first. Ms. Lyttle is a divorce and child custody attorney in Texas with experience litigating many family law matters including parental relocation.

Client Reviews
"Before finding you, I had contracted three different lawyers. You were able to quickly resolve and settle a case that I thought was impossible for settle. Because of your expertise and your professionalism, I was able to save thousands of dollars that I can now dedicate to my family. You were sharp, creative, and a strong advocate for me and my family in the Courtroom and in negotiations with the opposing side. Thank you so much for the work that you do!" T.F.
"Daniella, you helped me during the darkest and most difficult time in my life. You were always honest, gave me realistic expectations, and you were prepared for anything in the Courtroom and out of the Courtroom. I will be forever grateful for what you did for me and my children. Because of you, I feel that I got a settlement that will put me on the right path for this next chapter of my life as a divorced parent. Thank you and your wonderful team! you all are great!" A.R.
"Ms. Lyttle's name was given to me by a mutual friend who described Ms. Lyttle as an intelligent lawyer with an athlete's competitive spirit. Ms. Lyttle was a wonderful representative of calm preparedness during what became a lengthy and tenacious divorce litigation. I appreciated her knowledge, her calmness despite the fact that I was very anxuous, and her polite and respectful attitude in the courtroom, and outside of it. Ms. Lyttle helped me to stay focused on the larger picture, and her experience and advice came to me at a time when I was desperate and depended on her. I am glad to report I placed my trust in someone who actually delivered." R.E.
"I have known Ms. Lyttle for more than two years. She has represented me in my divorce and then in my modification/enforcement case in the most proffessional manner. Ms. Lyttle's ethics are of the highest standards. Her friendship , courtesy ,knowledge and honesty have become very important to me during the last two years as she represented me in my family law case. I have recommended Ms. Lyttle to a many friends facing family law matters and I know I can count on Ms. Lyttle should I need her again in the future." A.W.