Thinking about relocating with your children after divorce?

On behalf of Don Robinowitz at The Robinowitz Law Firm, P.C.

Before relocating with your child after divorce, you should consider issues such as whether the move is in your child's best interests, if you have planned the move well and your ex-spouse's feelings.

If you have gone through divorce, you know that your whole life changes because of it. You may think that the best way to move on after divorce is to get a fresh start by relocating to a new state. However, if you have to continue co-parenting with your ex-spouse after divorce, packing up and moving away is not a simple matter. Joint child custody, called joint managing conservatorship in Texas, means that the court will need to be involved before you may move. Before you pack your bags, you should make sure that you have answered some questions about moving.

Is the move in your child's best interests?

Moving might seem like a good idea for you, but have you considered how the relocation will impact your child? You need to consider how moving your child away from his or her friends and other family members will affect your child. It may be that moving will be more change than your child can handle after the divorce. Additionally, you need to think about how the move will affect the relationship between your child and your ex-spouse. If your child is old enough, you should ask your child for his or her opinion about moving.

Are the benefits that the move will offer to you, such as greater job prospects or moving closer to your family members, great enough to outweigh potential negative effects that relocating will have on your child? It may be the case that you and your child will have a higher living standard or a better support system if you move, which will ultimately be in your child's best interests, but it is important to weigh the benefits against the drawbacks.

Have you planned the move thoroughly?

Moving to a new state requires detailed planning. You will have to show the court that you have thought this move through carefully. Where will you live? What are your job prospects in the new location? What school will your child attend? Is the school system as good as the one your child currently attends? Do you have childcare arranged in the new location?

Have you talked with your ex-spouse?

Before making final plans to move, you should get your ex-spouse's input. Your ex-spouse might be supportive of the move, even if that means he or she will have less time with the child. In the event that your ex-spouse agrees to you moving with your child, you will need to discuss alternative parenting time schedules as well as how you will arrange and pay for transportation for your child's visits with your ex-spouse. Many child custody orders in Texas prohibit parents from moving out of the counties where they currently reside or the adjacent counties. You will still need to get a court order allowing you to move even if your ex-spouse agrees to the move.

If your child opposes you moving, you can still petition the court for permission to relocate. At the relocation hearing, you will have to show the court that you have compelling reasons to move and that the move is in your child's best interests. It is important to have the assistance of a skilled parental relocation attorney to assist you if are involved in a contested relocation. A seasoned attorney can help you present your case to the court in the most persuasive manner possible. If you have questions about relocation, talk to an experienced child custody attorney soon.

Keywords: child custody; relocation; divorce