For many people, the most challenging aspect of a divorce or split with a co-parent is giving up time with their children. Even parents who share physical custody are without their children a significant part of the time. It should not be surprising that reactions are often heated and overwrought when a parent mentions moving away and taking the children with them.
A Pflugerville relocation lawyer could assist parents in that position, whether they are the parent who wants to leave or the parent who does not want their kids to go.
The courts focus on what result serves the child’s best interest. An experienced child custody attorney at Angela Faye Brown & Associates, PLLC, could help a parent convince a judge that their desired result is what is most advantageous for their child.
Decrees Typically Contain Geographic Restrictions
Divorce decrees are specific to each couple, but the parent awarded managing conservatorship over a child typically must live within the county where the decree was issued or an adjacent county. These restrictions ensure that the child retains a sense of familiarity with their surroundings and that the noncustodial parent has ample opportunities to spend time with the child.
A parent who wishes to alter the custody agreement must seek an official modification from the court that issued the order. Texas Family Code §156.101 allows a party to seek a modification of a conservatorship – as custody is called in the state.
As the petitioner, the parent who seeks the modification must prove that relocating is in their child’s best interest. They have the burden of showing that the benefit to the child outweighs the damage the move might inflict on the child’s relationship with the nonmoving parent. A Pflugerville relocation attorney could help a parent who desires to move with their child make a convincing case to the court.
Establishing The Child’s Best Interests
Whenever a court proceeding involves a child, the main determinant a judge considers is whether the action is in the child’s best interest. In general, the law in the Texas favors both parents being as involved in child-rearing as possible. To the degree that a move would limit one parent’s quality time with the child, relocation might not support a child’s best interest. On the other hand, relocation might provide the child with advantages unavailable in their current location.
Relationship With Nonmoving Parent
The court will examine the relationship with the nonmoving parent. Diminished parenting time might not be a major concern if the parent is uninterested in the child or has not exercised their parental rights to the fullest in the past.
If the nonmoving parent is an involved parent, the court would want to know how the move will affect their time with the child. If the child would be moving too far for the parent to make frequent visits due to time or money constraints, a court might be reluctant to permit relocation.
Motives Of Parent Who Desires Relocation
A judge will consider why the parent wants to move. A better job is frequently the reason a parent puts forward, but courts might question whether the parent could not find a similar opportunity locally or work remotely. If moving would bring the parent nearer to close family support, a court could consider strengthening extended family relationships a benefit to the child.
The court will also consider whether interfering with their co-parent’s parental rights could be part of a parent’s motivation to relocate. A judge is unlikely to approve a move in that case. A seasoned relocation lawyer in Pflugerville could help fight against such a tactic by revealing the parent’s true motives to the court.
Impact On The Child
Courts will examine how the child’s life will change because of the move. The analysis is fact-specific, but if, for example, moving might provide the child better educational opportunities, a court would weigh that benefit against the loss of close contact with lifelong friends.
If the child is over 12, the court could consider their opinion. The court does not need to grant the outcome the child desires, but the judge needs to hear and consider the child’s feelings about relocation.
Seek Assistance From A Pflugerville Relocation Attorney
When one parent’s desire to start life over in another place conflicts with the other parent’s desire to remain involved in a child’s day to day life, an untenable situation arises. Not matter what a judge decides, one party will likely be heartbroken. Their only consolation might be that the judge decided according to what seemed best for the child.
A Pflugerville relocation lawyer could represent a parent at a custody modification hearing and present fact-based arguments demonstrating the child’s best interest. With the help of a skilled legal professional at Angela Faye Brown & Associates, you could achieve the results you desire. Schedule a consultation today by calling our Houston office at 713-714-3710 or our Austin office at 512-572-1207.