Can your ex-spouse move to a different state with your child?

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In the event of a divorce or separation, co-parenting can be a tricky path to navigate. There is compromise, patience and sacrifice that goes into the division of parenting duties, and sometimes a big change by one parent can be cataclysmic to what might be an already tenuous situation.

One example of such an action could be the custodial parent moving to a different state. While there may be good reason to make such a move—a higher paying job or a better quality of life—it’s a decision that warrants much thought and consideration.

If you’re facing the reality of an ex-spouse leaving the state with your child, it’s important to understand your rights, as well as what goes into the process.

Is such a move legal without consent?

Depending on the terms of your divorce, parenting plan or child custody agreement, a court order and some form of consent may be required for your ex-spouse to relocate with your child. If relocation is mentioned specifically in the relevant document, and there is a window of notice to be given in advance, that clause must be complied with. Failure to adhere to said clause could result in a judge denying a relocation request.

Contesting the decision

If you choose to contest your ex-spouse’s decision to relocate in family court, a full custody evaluation may take place. This could be put the onus on your ex to prove the following:

  • This is not an attempt to deny you visitation.
  • They are now willing to allow longer, if less frequent visits.
  • Moving out of state will give your child a better quality of life.
  • They will shoulder the increased transportation costs for visitation.

Consulting with an experienced family law attorney

The prospect of your child moving to another state can bring about immense stress. If your ex-spouse is considering relocation, it may be in your best interests to consult with an attorney, as there is much involved in such a decision’s legality. An experienced legal professional who is well-versed in Texas family law can advise you of your rights, and help to see that any provisions in your custody agreement are observed. In what may be a trying time, it’s wise to not attempt to go it alone. Effective legal counsel can go a long way in your efforts toward reaching a fair and equitable custody solution.

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