If you are in the midst of a custody dispute, you cannot discount the possibility that the other parent may want to move to a new city with the child. Given our mobile society, it is fairly common for people to change cities to find a new job, move closer to one's support system, or to start a new life with a new relationship partner.
When this involves children, regardless of whether a divorce has occurred, a custodial parent generally must seek the court's permission before executing a move.
Indeed, Texas family courts have a vested interest in protecting the relationship between the child and the parent who would be left behind. Because of this, a custodial parent generally has to file a petition with the court and serve the other parent so that the non-custodial parent may have an opportunity to give their reasons as to why the petition should be denied.
When a parent files such a petition, the court will consider a number of factors, including:
- How far away the moving parent will be going (i.e. within the same county, region or state)
- Whether the move will significantly affect the non-custodial parent's time with the child
- Whether the move will enhance the child's quality of life (i.e. moving closer to school and/or extended family)
- The custodial parent's reasons for moving, as well as the non-custodial parent's reasons for opposing such a move
- The children's preferences, if they are old enough to register a reasonable opinion
If you have questions about handling a potential move, whether you are contemplating a move or defending one, an experienced family law attorney can help.