Working through parenting disagreements with your ex can be challenging,
especially when those issues involve a potential relocation. Job opportunities,
familial obligations, educational opportunities, and the desire for a
change of scenery often prompts people to move to a new region, state,
or nation. Whatever the reason for the change, it is important that you
consider how a move could impact your relationship with your child. Whether
you are the moving parent or your ex is, this change could seriously alter
the time you get with your child and the role you play in his or her life.
In the best-case scenario, parents will be able to work out their relocation
issue amongst themselves. However, disagreements over parenting time,
living situations, and child support payments can quickly become all-out
arguments, and court intervention may be necessary. Even if parents can
agree to certain terms of the relocation, such as who the child will live
with primarily, it might still be wise to get a new custody agreement
in writing. Without a legally binding agreement, your ex might go back
on your spoken promises, or could claim that you broke the arrangement.
Texas Courts & Relocation
When you go to the court with your relocation issue, the judge will consider
several factors before making any definitive decisions. All decisions
will be made with one singular focus—the best interest of the child. In order to determine what is in the best interest of the child, the
court will review:
- The relationship the child has with each parent
- The child’s preference, if he or she is old enough to decide
- The child’s tie to the community at either parent’s location
- The income and stability of either parent
- The reason for the relocation
- The educational or cultural benefits of a potential move
The court will also look at the existing parenting plan. For example, if
the parents currently share custody, it might be difficult to find a way
to arrange for equal time with each parent, especially if the relocation
means the parents will live a great distance apart. This might result
in major adjustments on the child’s part and the parents’.
The child might spend the school year with one parent and summers and
holidays with the other, or maybe the child would alternate one year with
one parent and another with the second parent. This custody arrangements
can be difficult, and are often unique to each situation.
When one parent already has primary custody of the child, the child will
likely remain with that child whether they are moving or not. This isn’t
always true, but it is in most cases. The other parent will still be granted
visitation rights, unless the court forbids it, but the visitation schedule
will likely change. Regular weekly or monthly visits can be difficult
to arrange when the parents live a great distance apart, so visitation
may be allotted in chunks, resulting in month-long holidays or summer
vacations with the non-custodial parent.
If you or your ex is relocating, make sure you discuss your options with
an experienced Texas family law attorney. At the Law Office of Kathryn
Marteeny, we understand these cases can be sensitive, which is why we
want to work with you to ensure your rights are heard.
Contact our Houston divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny
to get started.