Child Custody and Relocation

When parents split, the dynamics of the family often change. In some cases, one parent takes on the role of the custodial parent while the other parent serves as the noncustodial parent. While the noncustodial parent does not see the child or children as much, they are still part of their lives. Even though the child custody arrangement allows for frequent visitations, if a custodial parent seeks to relocate, this could cause an alteration to this arrangement.

There are many reasons that can bring about a move. For most, it is new job opportunities or the need for a fresh start. However, when a custodial parent in Texas or elsewhere seeks to relocate, it is not automatically approved because he or she is the custodial parent. The noncustodial parent has the ability to object to the move, allowing for the court to make a decision on the matter.

Although parents could establish an agreement at the time the original custody agreement was put in place when it comes to relocation, if parents do not agree on the matter, there is a burden of proof that must be established. This requires the custodial parent to provide good-faith reasons for the move. This typically includes the opportunity to live in an area with a better cost of living, live closer to family who can help with childcare responsibilities, start a new job or continue one’s education.

When a parent seeks to relocate, he or she must propose a visitation plan. This includes times and places for visitation with the noncustodial parent as well as access during major holidays, spring breaks, and summer months.

Whether it is for relocation or other changes in circumstance, child custody can change over time. No matter the cause or reason, it is important for parents to understand their rights and what steps can be taken to protect their rights and the interests of the children involved.

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