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Parental relocation in Texas

It is not uncommon for those who have recently divorced to want to move away from Houston. Staying in the same general area in which they made their lives with their ex-spouse may serve to bring up painful memories of the circumstances that contributed to the end off their marriage. For this reason, many of those who relocate after a divorce will often seek to put distance between themselves and their ex-spouses. Americans in general tend to go significant distances when they move (indeed, information shared by Move.org shows that over one-third of relocations are outside of one’s current county). Yet moving away can be complicated when a divorced couple shares custody of their children. 

Many states have created laws specific to the issue of parental relocation. Texas, however, has not. When considering this matter, local family courts issue rulings that support the basic purpose of custody determinations in this state, which (according to Section 153.001 of the Texas Family Code) are: 

  • That children have continuing and frequent contact with both parents (when both have shown the ability to act in their best interests)
  • That children are raised in a safe and stable environment
  • That parents share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their children

Still, even without statutory standards in place, one typically cannot up and move with the kids without providing both their ex-spouse’s and the family court that has jurisdiction over their case with notice. Once such notice is received, the court will typically consider how the current custodial situation should be modified to ensure that the non-relocating parent’s access to the kids is not restricted. Those hoping to relocate after a divorce may be wise to work with their ex-spouse’s on coming up with their own revised custody schedule prior to taking the matter to court. 

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