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How Is Child Custody Handled if One Parent Relocates?

In most cases, Texas courts find that it is in the best interests of the child to have regular, ongoing contact with both parents. Therefore, if the custodial parent wants to relocate, he or she must prove that circumstances are such that the benefits to the child will outweigh the costs of the distance from the non-custodial parent. If the relocation is approved, there may be additional considerations, such as a financial arrangement that allows the non-custodial parent to be able to see the children without incurring an extra financial burden.

Some divorce decrees include a geographic restriction that sets certain parameters around where a child’s primary residence will be located. The custodial parent may be limited to a specific city, county or adjoining counties, state or proximity to the non-custodial parent. If a parent wishes to challenge this restriction, the court must consider what is in the best interests of the child. Some factors considered include the following:

  • Reasons the parent wants to relocate
  • The psychological needs of the child
  • Medical and healthcare opportunities for the child
  • Educational access and opportunities for the child
  • The ability of the non-custodial parent to visit the child

Individual circumstances often change, and the court may modify a geographic restriction if there is compelling cause to do so. However, the court does not look favorably on attempts to relocate that reflect efforts to alienate the child from one parent or prevent contact when there is not a legitimate reason behind such actions.

If you are a custodial parent looking to relocate, or a non-custodial parent trying to fight a relocation, contact an experienced child custody lawyer to discuss your legal options.

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Robert Reid McInvale
Attorney at Law

Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Houston. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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