Texas family law courts generally assume that it is in the best interest of children that both parents continue to have an active role in their lives after they divorce.
For this reason, Texas divorce decrees often place restrictions on whether either parent can relocate and, if so, how far. These restrictions help protect the noncustodial parent’s visitation rights and ensure that children continue to benefit from both parents’ care and support.
1. Do divorce decrees always restrict relocation?
If a divorce goes to court, a judge will consider the family’s specific circumstances when deciding whether to place limits on relocation. However, during an uncontested divorce, parents can come to their own agreement about how to handle a potential move.
2. How far away can custodial parents move?
Court-ordered restrictions typically prevent a parent with custodial responsibilities from moving to another county without the consent of the court and/or the other parent. However, in some cases, a custodial parent may be able to relocate to a neighboring county without the court’s intervention.
3. What if a parent needs to move?
A final divorce decree may restrict both the custodial and non-custodial parent’s ability to relocate. If there are geographic restrictions in place, the parent who wants to move will have to petition the court to change or eliminate those restrictions before relocating.
If parents disagree about relocation, a judge will have to decide whether to allow the move. However, if parents can negotiate a new custody arrangement on their own, they can prepare for relocation by filing an agreed custody modification case.