Can I move out of Texas during my divorce?
- June 21, 2017
- David Valdez
- No comments
Unless you have children, you are under no obligation from the law to remain in Texas during your divorce. We know this is an emotional process, and most times people want to get away and start a new life elsewhere. Before you make an emotional decision, consider the divorce proceedings and the possibility that the case could go to trial. It is important to consult with an attorney before making any plans to relocate during your divorce process. Your lawyer will advise you on the implications of moving based on the unique circumstances of your case.
If you have filed for divorce and you have children, you cannot move them out of Texas without the approval of the court. Texas courts usually award joint conservatorship, also known as joint custody, to both parents. This means both of them should consult when making major decisions, including where the child will live. Unless there is gross parental misconduct, such as abuse or domestic violence, it would be unwise for one parent to move their child until the court issues a ruling to this effect.
Parents are allowed to draft a custody agreement. This agreement can later be turned into a parenting plan. However, if divorcing parents fail to reach an agreement, the court will step in and decide on custody issues. When deciding on a custody plan, the courts will consider several factors related to the best interests of the child such as:
- The child’s emotional, physical and psychological needs.
- The ability of the parents to act in the best interest of the child.
- Whether each parent can foster a positive relationship and put their differences aside for the welfare of the child.
- The geographical proximity of each parent.
- The preference of the child if he or she is above the age of 12.
Texas divorce laws are centered on encouraging regular contact between parents and children. As such, both parents are encouraged to live within close proximity to the child. There are circumstances when the custodial parent may have good ground to relocate. However, for such a request to be granted the parent’s decision must demonstrate that such a move would be in the best interest of the child. The non-custodial parent is allowed to contest the move, and the court will make a ruling based on the circumstances presented. An Austin divorce attorney would be critical in such custodial matters, especially if the parent requires representation in court.
During the divorce proceedings, the courts may order a restriction against relocating out of Texas. If you violate this restriction, you can be subject to a penalty. Again, it will not reflect well on you if you violate a relocation restriction. The other spouse can file a petition commanding you to return the children back to Texas.
Divorce and custody issues are complicated, at Kirker Davis we have helped divorcing parents understand their options and pursue an amicable settlement within the confines of the law. Our attorneys are on standby for a case evaluation.