Relocation and Child Custody in Texas

Your Rights When Your Ex-Spouse Seeks to Relocate after Divorce

It happens on a regular basis. Parents divorce with minor children still living at home. After the divorce is final, one of the parents is either offered a job in another city or state, or wants to move away to be closer to family, or for some other reason. What are the circumstances that will allow you to relocate and take minor children with you? What can you do to prevent your ex-spouse from moving away and taking your kids? This blog post looks at the laws in Texas governing relocation after divorce.

Texas Law Specifically Addresses Relocation

Under the provisions of the Texas Family Code (Section 153.001(a)), the Texas legislature has stated a desire that children have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown an ability to act in the best interests of the child. Though the statute promotes a "safe, stable and nonviolent" environment for children of divorce, it also encourages parents to share in the rights and duties involved in raising their children.

The Factors Considered by the Court When Ruling on a Request for Relocation

The controlling factor in the decision to grant or deny a request for relocation is the best interests of the child. The court will also consider whether the relocation will make a positive improvement in the life of the child. To determine whether these standards are met, the court will potentially assess:

  • The reasons for the proposed move—Does the parent requesting the move have a bona fide employment or career opportunity that will indirectly benefit the child, or is the request simply a veiled effort to punish the other parent or exact revenge
  • The ability of both parents to maintain a continuous relationship with the child after the move
  • The impact the move will have on family relationships, as well as the child's sense of community
  • The relative educational, emotional, economic and extra-curricular opportunities for the child, as well as the moving parent
  • Any special needs of the child
  • The nature of the child's existing contact with both parents

The Cost of Relocation

Under the Texas Family Code, the court may allocate increased expenses related to travel or other similar items "on a fair and equitable basis," so that the non-custodial parent does not have to bear all the expense of the relocation.

Contact the Law Offices of Pfister Borserine & Associates

At Pfister Borserine & Associates, we bring more than 20 years of experience to men and women throughout north Texas. Attorney John Pfister is board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We understand that every case is unique, and take the time to learn the details of your situation, so that we can formulate a specific strategy to get the outcome you want. We offer experienced and successful trial counsel, or can help you to resolve your family law differences through alternative means, including negotiated settlements or mediation.

For an appointment with an experienced divorce lawyer, contact our office by e-mail or call us at 972-712-6700.

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