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Can you leave Texas with the kids after your divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2022 | Child Custody |

Divorcing when you have children will mean accepting certain limitations on your future. Unless there are serious issues in your family, like a history of domestic violence or severe substance abuse, you and your ex will typically share custody of your children following the end of your relationship.

Your parenting plan imposes limitations on your schedule and possibly on the decisions that you make related to your children and your own future. For example, you typically need to remain close enough to your current location to allow your ex frequent visitation with the children.

Does that mean you can’t move out of the state until your children turn 18?

Relocations are possible with a custody modification

For you to move far enough across Texas to affect the other parent’s access to the children or out of the state, you will typically require approval either from the other parents or the Texas family courts. Your parenting plan likely already includes specific terms that limit how far you can move with the children. If your move will exceed that distance or take you out of the state, you require the cooperation of the other parent.

You will have to provide advance notice of the move to both the other parent and the Texas family courts. If your ex agrees to the move, then the two of you will cooperate for an uncontested modification request that adjusts your parenting plan based on where you will move and how you will change your parenting schedule to accommodate the distance between you and the other parent.

If your ex opposes your relocation request, they will need to file paperwork with the courts explaining why they do not want the modification approved. A judge will likely then schedule a hearing to resolve the matter.

What happens in a contested relocation case?

When you want to move out of the state with the children but your ex wants you to stay in Texas or closer to the area where they live, a judge will potentially have to decide what will happen for your family. If you litigate your relocation request, then the judge will do what they believe would be in the best interest of the children.

If there are other family members, better schools or other opportunities for your children related to the move, a judge me approve it. Otherwise, they may grant your ex more parenting time or simply deny you permission to move with the children. Knowing the rules that apply and presenting your case the right way will increase your chances of success when pursuing a Texas custody modification.