Some of the most challenging cases are those in which a parent wants to relocate with their child. Depending on the outcome, one parent is likely to be heartbroken; either the parent left behind when their child moves, or the parent who is told that their child cannot go.

If you are considering a move with your child, or your co-parent has notified you of their intent to relocate, you may benefit by consulting a knowledgeable Pearland relocation lawyer. Our firm’s compassionate custody attorneys could fight for your legal rights and your child’s best interests.

Do Parents Always Need a Court Order to Relocate?

In most child custody cases, the initial order prohibits a parent from moving with their child outside a specific area. This area typically includes the county where the child currently resides and any neighboring counties. If a parent’s intended move is not outside of this area, they do not need court approval to relocate. If the planned relocation is out of this geographical area, the parent cannot move without a court order.

A parent who moves without one could face court penalties, including losing custody. Because of the potential impact of moving a child on everyone involved, it is best to seek counsel from an experienced lawyer in the Pearland area when considering relocation.

Notice Requirements in Pearland Relocation Cases

Texas Family Law Code §153.134(b)(1)(A) permits a judge to determine the geographical area in which the custodial parent must reside with the child. If that parent thereafter wants to relocate their child, they must notify their co-parent at least 60 days before the planned move. This requirement ensures that the noncustodial parent is aware of the move and has the opportunity to object.

The relocation notice must be in writing and include the address where the child would be living if the move is approved and the moving date. A failure to give notice could result in a parent losing custody. A Pearland attorney could either help a parent prepare this relocation notice or take action after receiving one.

When Both Parents Agree on Relocation

Parents do not necessarily need to go to court in a relocation case if they can agree. In this situation, both parents may file an agreement indicating their consent and have a judge approve it as a binding court order. For a relocating parent, it is essential to take this step and not rely solely on a verbal agreement. If the non-moving parent changes their mind and later objects to the relocation, the moving parent could face contempt of court charges for violating the custody order.

Factors Courts Considers in Contested Relocation Cases

There are many legitimate reasons for a parent to move with their child, including a new job or marrying someone who lives out of state. However, state law mandates that courts consider what is in a child’s best interests in relocation cases, not just what is better for the parent.

In Pearland, if one parent intends to move with their child and the other objects, the relocating parent must file a ‘move away’ request in family court. When making the decision, a judge may consider many factors, including but not limited to:

  • A parent’s motivation for moving
  • Any disruption for the noncustodial parent
  • How relocating would benefit the child
  • The relocation’s impact on the child’s health and social relationships
  • Whether the relocation would require a change in custody or visitation
  • The child’s preference regarding the move

It is important to understand that a judge does not look favorably on a parent who relocates to negatively impact the other parent’s relationship with their child. A lawyer in Pearland could explain what a judge may consider when looking at a specific relocation case.

Contact Skilled Pearland Relocation Attorney

Relocation cases can be some of the most complex matters in family law. If your custody order has a moving restriction, you may need the assistance of a seasoned Pearland relocation lawyer to file a proper ‘move away’ petition. Our caring attorneys could work with you to defend your parental rights and protect your children throughout this legal process.