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How does a move affect custody and visitation?

Many families in Fort Bend County and the greater Houston area are going to have to move from time to time. Even though this is a headache when a child lives with both of his or her legal parents, a child living with one or the other parent and being subject to a Texas child custody order adds an additional complication to the process.

If either parent is moving, both of them should review their custody and visitation orders carefully, as that order may include restrictions on relocation. If there are such restrictions, then the parent who wants to move is going to have to choose whether to live within the court-ordered restrictions, come to an agreement with the child's other parent or go to court and attempt to get the order changed.

Absent a court order, parents are generally free to move, although other Texas laws may apply. Of course, if a parent does not like the fact that the other parent is moving, then he or she is free to petition the court for a change in the custody order.

A move can also impact a parent's visitation time. For moves that are less than 100 miles, things will rarely need to change, meaning on a practical level that parents are free to move about the Houston metro area as long as they give the other parent updated contact information.

For moves involving more distance, the parent without custody may have the option of requesting a different parenting time schedule that reflects the fact that there is a long distance between the two parents. A parent who lives far away will, for instance, only have one weekend a month available for visitation but will also have extended summer parenting time.

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