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You can't just move away when you have a child custody order

When the court entered your original child custody order, it was made using then-current information about you and the other parent. Decisions were made based on where you each lived, your jobs and where your children attended school, among other things.

Now, whether it's months or years later, your circumstances have changed. As the adult with the larger percentage of parenting time, you serve as the primary custodial parent. You may think that you can move away with the children without obtaining the permission of the court as long as the other parent agrees, but that isn't the case.

What the court wants to know

If you and the other parent agree to the move and want to modify your custody agreement accordingly, you are already most of the way there. All you will need to do is take your new agreement to the court for approval. Before you receive the court's blessing, you must show that the move serves the best interests of the children. 

A Texas court may want to make sure that moving the children benefits them more than staying where they are. You may not think it matters, but courts have denied parental requests to relocate based on this standard. You will need to demonstrate that the move will provide you and the children with one or more of the following benefits:

  • A better employment opportunity
  • Closer proximity to extended family
  • An improved housing situation

The court will also address whether the children will have adequate access to the other parent. Courts want to make sure that both parents remain in the lives of their children as long as no harm comes to the children as a result. Keeping this in mind, you and the other parent will need to prove that the relationship with the other parent can remain strong. The maturity and age of each child and the distance you want to move are also taken into consideration. 

The courts hesitate to allow relocation

Some courts tend to err on the side of denying requests for relocation. Therefore, you must make a convincing argument, especially if the other parent isn't on board. You can increase your odds by making use of legal counsel.

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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.
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Houston, TX 77056

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