Divorce can change your life in unexpected ways. For instance, if you were a stay-at-home parent who needs to return to work after divorce, you may need to move away in order to obtain a job that supports you and your children. Whatever the reason, however, parental relocation (moving with your children) can be complicated, and it’s in you and your children’s best interests to consult with an experienced Fort Worth family law attorney.
Your Custody Orders
When you divorce, the judge issues custody orders. In Texas, the court’s presumption is that your children are better off with both of you making the important decisions in their lives (on their behalves). As such, most divorcing couples are awarded joint managing conservatorship (what you might think of as joint custody). This means that both of you will share the responsibility for making important decisions related to your children’s ongoing well-being. The judge is also likely to identify one of you as the primary custodial parent, which means the parent who decides where the children’s primary residence will be. The court will generally also establish the physical area within which the primary custodial parent will maintain residency (usually the county you currently reside in and any contiguous counties).
If you are the primary custodial parent and a move is in your future, your original custody orders most likely prohibit you from picking up and moving without asking for a court order to do so (obtained at a relocation hearing). Even if your original order doesn’t address the issue, your children’s other parent can file for a temporary restraining order to prevent you from moving without the court’s approval. As such, the best path forward is through the court. Conversely, if your ex is planning on moving away with your children, he or she will also need to go through the proper legal channels.
Your Motivation for Moving
Any number of factors can leave you needing to relocate with your children, and the court will take your motivations into careful consideration. Compelling motivations can include:
Relocating for a job (if a comparable one isn’t available locally)
Relocating to be near family who will help care for and support your children
Relocating for a health reason (to be near necessary medical care, for example)
If the court discerns, on the other hand, that you are attempting to interfere with your ex’s relationship with the children, your proposed move will very likely not be granted.
If You’re Considering Relocation with Your Children, Consult with an Experienced Fort Worth Family Law Attorney Today
Whether you are considering moving with your children post-divorce – or your ex is – the move will need to be approved by the court. Generally, the court would like the primary custodial parent to remain within a specific geographic area, but if you have a compelling reason for moving, the court will carefully consider your request. The dedicated family law attorneys at The Law Office of J. Kevin Clark in Fort Worth have the skill, experience, and compassion to help you obtain your relocation hearing’s best outcome. For more information, please contact us today.