Dwyer Law Firm, Attorney at Law

What Is The Process For A Parent Seeking To Move With A Child?


A custodial parent attempting to make a move outside of the residency restriction area contained in the divorce decree may do so only after filing a Motion to Modify. At that time the custodial parent will have to show “changed circumstances” and that it’s in the best interest of the child for the relocation to occur.

How Much Say Does The Other Parent Have?

If a noncustodial parent learns that the custodial parent moved outside of the residency restricted area without notice, then the noncustodial parent must file a Motion to Enforce if the noncustodial parent learns of the prospect even move of the custodial parent, then the noncustodial parent should seek injunctive relief. In Texas, either a judge or a jury will determine relocation issues. Relocation is one of the few issues under the Texas Family Code upon which a jury may be requested.

Does The Parent Have To Have A Valid Reason, Such As Employment To Request Relocation?

Yes, there must be a valid reason for the move to meet the standards of the court. First, there must be substantially changed circumstances of the child, a conservator, or other party affected by the order in order for the court to address relocation. Further, a court ruling or decision regarding relocation must be based upon the standard “best interest” of the child. The public policy of the State of Texas is to assure the children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child; provide a safe, stable and nonviolent environment for the child; and, encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.

Will We Have To Go To Court?

Unless an agreement can be reached with the noncustodial parent, either a court or a jury will have to determine whether relocation is allowed.

How Long Does It Take For The Court To Make A Decision?

Getting the issue before a court for trial may take several months. A decision on the issue is immediate upon conclusion of the trial.

What If The Judge Denies My Request To Move?

A party may appeal a court’s ruling on relocation. The standard of review of a court’s ruling on relocation is “abuse of discretion”.

How Far In Advance Of A Proposed Move Should Someone Provide The Advanced Written Notice?

There is no statutory requirement for the amount of advanced written notice for a move outside of the residency restricted area. The greater amount of time given in the notice to the noncustodial parent gives the noncustodial parent time to get used to and plan for the change, but also gives the noncustodial parent time to file motions opposing same with the court.

What Can I Do In Advance To Help Me Be Able To Move With My Child Or Children?

If the noncustodial parent is not engaged in the lives of your children, keep a diary. Make sure when you’re addressing the issue of relocation that it is for the well-being of you and your children. Do not make it a retaliatory move.

What Can I Do To Stop My Spouse From Leaving With My Children And Relocating To A Home Far From Me After The Divorce?

First and foremost, get a residency restriction in your divorce decree. Preferably the restriction is the County of entry of decree and contiguous counties thereto. Most courts in the North Texas Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are agreeable to such restrictions. As the noncustodial parent, stay active in the lives of your children. Your relationship with your children and the emphasis you place upon being a part of their lives may be the deciding factor in opposing a custodial parent’s move outside the restricted area.

As My Attorney, What Assistance Can You Provide If I Need To Relocate My Children Or If Perhaps I Want To Argue Against My Spouse Relocating My Children?

The factors relevant to relocation are as numerous as the cases addressing the issue. Hiring a lawyer both familiar with the factors and experienced in the courtroom will assist immensely in obtaining the desired outcome. My years in the courtroom make a difference.

For more information on Moving With Children In Texas, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (972) 746-2805 today.

Rex Dwyer, Esq

Get your questions answered. Call Now for Your Free 30 Minute Consultation (972) 746-2805.

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