Can I move with my children to another state?

If and how you move largely depends on what has been written down in your divorce decree.

By Anita K. Cutrer
June 26, 2006
TX FAQs/Child Custody

Maybe yes, maybe no. Texas law recognizes that the public policy of this state is to encourage frequent and continuous contact with both parents, as long as the parents have shown an ability to act in the best interests of the child.

However, there is no bright-line rule regarding which circumstances would cause a judge or a jury to allow a parent to move with the child. (You have the right to have a jury decide whether you can move with your child.) Several factors that a judge or jury would take into account when deciding whether you will be allowed to move with your child include:

  1. The distance involved. How difficult will it be for the other parent to visit with the child? Will the other parent still be able to have a regular and meaningful access to the child?
  2. What is the quality of the relationship between the other parent and the child? Will it be feasible for the other parent to preserve a positive relationship with the child through a suitable visitation arrangement?
  3. What is your motive for moving? If your motive for moving is simply to get away from your ex-spouse or simply to punish him or her, the court would probably not let you move.
  4. To what degree will the move enhance the economic, emotional, and educational life of the child?
  5. Will the move have a negative effect on any extended family relationships?
  6. Will your financial situation be significantly improved as a result of the move, and will the move have a positive impact on your emotional and mental state?

Keep in mind that if you are planning to move, you must follow your divorce decree to the letter. If your divorce decree requires you to give notice to the other parent that you are planning a move, make sure you give that notice as ordered in the decree. If your divorce decree restricts the child's residence to a particular county, you must file a motion with the court before you move and request that the court lift the residency restriction temporarily and permanently.

Anita K. Cutrer is a partner with Denton, Hoppes & Cutrer in Bedford. She was named as one of the Top Attorneys in Family Law for 2002 in Fort Worth, Texas magazine.

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June 26, 2006
Categories:  Children and Divorce|FAQs

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