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Can I Move Out of State with My Child After Divorce?

 Posted on September 13, 2022 in Divorce

Galveston family law attorneyTexas family law courts start child custody cases with the assumption that it is in the child’s best interests for both parents to share legal custody or to have “joint managing conservatorship.” Having legal custody of your child, however, does not mean that you have the authority to do whatever you want with your child when he or she is in your possession. Parents must agree to abide by a parenting plan that is enforceable by law and violating the terms of this plan can have serious legal consequences. 

One of the most serious violations of a joint parenting plan is when a parent relocates out of state and takes a child with them without permission. Parenting plans will generally address whether one parent has the exclusive right to designate a child’s residence or whether a parent can move within a certain area without needing to request permission from the other parent or a Texas family law court; however, rarely is an out-of-state move is permitted without prior approval. If you want to move out of state with your child, or if your child’s other parent has the intention of moving out of state and you object, get help from a Texas family law attorney right away. 

When Can a Parent Move Out of Texas with a Child? 

If only one parent has exclusive conservatorship and possession of a child, that parent is free to make all decisions he or she finds in the child’s best interests, including relocation. But when parents share conservatorship and/or possession, they need to get a court order allowing them to relocate out of state. 

A parent who wishes to move out of state and take their child with them(or even within a state, if it is outside the boundaries of a pre-designated area) must give their child’s other parent notice. If the other parent objects, they will need to file an order preventing the relocation until a court can hold a hearing. 

The parent who wishes to move will need to provide compelling reasons for why the move is necessary and in the child’s best interests. This may be because of a new job, to be closer to family, or to allow the child to attend a specialized school. 

Courts are alert to the possibility of parents who might try to relocate a child under the pretense of benefitting the child when the true intent is to interfere with the child’s relationship with their other parent. If the parent who wishes to move has a history of interfering with visitation or other custody matters, a court will be more skeptical of that parent’s true motivations. 

Call a Galveston County Child Custody Lawyer

Whether you are a parent wishing to relocate with a child or a parent wishing to prevent a child from leaving the state, you need the help of an experienced legal advocate who will fight to protect your relationship with your child. Call the offices of Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C. today at 409-392-1511 to schedule a free consultation with our Galveston child custody attorney and learn more about your options. 



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