Child custody arrangements in Texas and around the country are determined based on the best interests of the child standard. Researchers have discovered that children tend to fare better following a divorce when they are able to spend time with both of their parents, which is why family law judges tend to favor shared physical child custody arrangements unless one of the parents involved is violent or leads a lifestyle that could place their children in danger.
Moving to another state or county
Many child custody orders contain geographic provisions that state where the child or children must reside. However, parents who share custody of their children must usually obtain permission from the court before moving even if their child custody order does not specifically mention relocation. Court approval is not generally required if both parents agree that the move is in the best interests of the child. When parents do not agree, the parent who wishes to relocate must submit a modification petition to the court. Once this petition has been received, a relocation hearing is scheduled.
During the relocation hearing, the petitioner must convince the judge that the proposed move would be in the child’s best interests. This could be difficult to do when children will be denied contact with their friends and forced to change schools. Judges may also be reluctant to approve relocations that would make future visitation difficult or impossible. Divorced parents who relocate< without court permission or the approval of their former spouse can face criminal charges and potential jail time under the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act.
Legal assistance with child custody modifications
Experienced family law attorneys could advocate on behalf of parents during child custody modification and relocation hearings. Attorneys could argue that a move would be in the best interests of the child when the relocating parent is unable to find a job locally but has been offered a position elsewhere. When a parent believes that their former spouse plans to relocate without first obtaining permission from the court, attorneys could seek a temporary restraining order to prevent the move.