One of the most frightening things any parent can experience is losing their child. From the time they’re little, you hold their hands and teach them how to stay safe. We make sure they know their phone number, address, and who to call in case of an emergency. We track their movements and know their whereabouts. We worry about them constantly until we know they are able to take care of themselves.
What happens when your child is taken across state lines during or after a divorce? What happens when the person you used to trust with your children decides they think they know best by trying to separate you from your children? Moving out of state during divorce is something Texas courts address.
If one spouse is moving out of state after the divorce is finalized and it was discussed and agreed upon during the divorce, there is no problem. Texas courts will recognize what was determined during the divorce. However, moving out of state with no child custody agreement is a completely different matter.
Texas child custody laws regarding moving out of state are specific, and parents who don’t follow the rules for moving out of state without a custody agreement face fines and/or jail time. In some cases, the courts may grant custody to the other parent because of what they consider wrongful or improper conduct.
Texas Child Custody Relocation Law
In most cases, a judge will determine child support and if moving to another state will be allowed. These things are usually determined during the Texas divorce process and when child custody is addressed. These issues are determined by the judge so that one parent doesn’t take the child and move from Texas without asking the other parent or notifying the courts.
Can a Parent Legally Move Their Children Out of State?
If the courts haven’t determined custody and the divorce hasn’t been finalized, then yes, it is fully legal for a parent to move the children. If you anticipate something like this might happen, it’s important to contact a Houston child custody lawyer and get a court order to determine what is allowed and what isn’t for each parent. A court order can also stop a parent from leaving.
How Does Moving Out of State Affect Child Support?
Child support is determined during the divorce and moving doesn’t impact it. Texas child relocation laws can request that a parent move back with the children or the parent can stay where they are but let the children move back to Texas if it is their home state. None of this will affect child support from a Texas divorce. If Texas is not the home state of the children, the only thing Texas courts can address is child support.
What to Do if Your Spouse or Soon to Be Ex Threatens Moving
Texas laws on child custody and moving out of state are specific, but what if your spouse or ex threatens it anyway? The most important thing you can do is make sure you have the law on your side.
To do this, it’s important to contact an experienced lawyer who knows the law and knows what steps to take, like filing a temporary restraining order. Learning what to do on your own can lead to excess time being spent, and time is crucial when dealing with losing your children. It’s much easier to stop someone from leaving than it is to get them to return after they have already left.
What if Both Parties Agree to the Move?
There are times when a parent may be required to move, as is common with job transfers, advancements or even when moving closer to family members that will help with raising the children. If this is the case and both parties agree to how to proceed with the move, court approval must first be granted.
This is an easy process if both parties agree to the relocation. The problem lies when both parties don’t agree and there is fear of one parent taking the children without permission.
Most parents think of their children as their most precious gifts. There is no replacing them or the time you can spend with them. The last thing any parent wants is to lose their children to another state where it’s more difficult to be involved, watch them grow, and enjoy their company.
If you’re concerned about your spouse or ex taking the children across state lines, it’s important to address those concerns right away. If you need a divorce attorney in Houston who specializes in child custody, you can trust the Moffett Law Firm.
Our lawyers are experienced and can help you through this difficult process. To schedule a consultation, contact the Moffett Law Firm today.