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Can the Custodial Parent Relocate a Child Outside of Texas?

Can a divorced parent take a child out of Texas without the other parent’s consent? This task, which may seem simple, is complicated and more difficult than one might assume.

When you want to move a child out of Texas, you have a lot of points to consider. These factors include the other parent, the child custody agreement, and the well-being of the child. If you don’t go through the proper steps to accomplish such a move, you could find yourself in legal trouble. This type of situation can lead to legal fines and even jail time. If you need legal guidance to help you accomplish this task properly, it is best to obtain it before you make any plans to relocate outside of Texas.

Child Custody Modification

A child custody agreement often dictates how many miles one parent can legally move from the other parent with a child in tow. It is often the case that the county, town, or state of Texas is also listed in the custody agreement, restricting the custodial parent’s relocation efforts. 

Modifying this agreement in order to legally allow the move can be difficult, particularly if your ex-spouse disagrees. The child custody agreement is in place to protect the best interests of the child. Trying to work outside of the agreement may lead to a restraining order from the other parent. Be sure to read through your document and consult a family attorney in Texas to assist you in getting a modification to the child custody agreement.

What to Expect at the Relocation Hearing

When you move a child out of Texas, you need to obtain the court’s permission to do so. Relocating for a job is generally looked upon as a good reason as long as no similar opportunities can be found in the current location of the child and parent. Additional factors are generally considered, including:

  • The age of the child
  • The possible impact the move will have on the child’s emotional and educational well-being
  • The terms of the custody agreement
  • The motivation behind the move
  • The relationship the child has with each parent
  • The existing ties with family, friends, teachers, and doctors the child has in the current location
  • Similarity of educational opportunities in the existing town as well as the proposed location
  • The cost for the non-custodial parent to continue with visitation

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act 

In Texas, one law in particular protects non-custodial parents from having the other parent intentionally relocate the child out of state. It also restricts relocating the child a distance of more than one hundred miles from the existing location. This law is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). It can also be used in the case of a parental abduction.

More importantly, this particular law enforces the home-state rule. As a result, even if one parent decides to move a child out of Texas, the original or current child custody agreement must be enforced.

Whether you are seeking to move a child out of Texas or fighting against it, you may want to obtain legal assistance. This situation can get messy quickly as a custody battle develops. Get the help you need now.