Parents all across Texas are bound by a custody or visitation order. These orders are essential in protecting both a parent’s access to a child as well as the best interests of a child. However, as time goes on, circumstances change and these orders may need modification. One such change is if one of the parents wants or needs to move away. In these situations, the non-moving parent can be understandably concerned if the proposed move would make the existing parenting schedule impossible. If you are in this position, you should know your options in terms of preventing a move.
Readers should understand that parents generally cannot move any further than an adjacent county without permission from the other parent or the court’s approval. If a parent does move away unlawfully, he or she could face harsh criminal penalties and loss of parental rights.
Challenging a move
Parents in Texas can challenge relocation. By filing a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship, you can secure a temporary restraining order that prevents the other parent from relocating until you have a court hearing.
Factors the courts consider at relocation hearings
At the hearing, the courts will hear arguments from both parents regarding the proposed move. The parent who wants to move will typically make statements about why he or she wants to move as well as how it can preserve the best interests of the child.
The parent objecting to the move can present arguments that the move is in bad faith or not in the best interests of the child. For instance, he or she might say that the move is to punish the noncustodial parent or that it puts a child in danger.
The courts will also take into account other factors like the existing relationship between the child and each parent and then decide whether to approve or deny relocation.
Know your legal options
Whether you are the parent opposing or proposing a move, you would be wise to consult an attorney to better understand you legal obligations and protections in Texas. Failure to do so could lead to costly mistakes that jeopardize your relationship with your child, your parental rights and even your freedom.