The right of a parent to move out of state with a child depends on the type of conservatorship (custody) granted. Under sole managing conservatorship, the parent has the right to decide a child’s primary residence. But there may be restrictions under Texas’s child custody laws when it comes to joint managing conservatorship (shared custody).
How does joint managing conservatorship impact a parent’s ability to move out of state?
When there is a dispute concerning a child’s living arrangements, Family Court Services in Dallas takes into account what’s in the best interest of that child. Sometimes this requires putting limitations on the parents; for instance, geographic restrictions.
When both parents share custody, neither one can take a child out of state without informing the court. The original court order of joint managing conservatorship typically establishes the child’s primary address. The child’s primary address is oftentimes within the same county as the other parent or a surrounding area.
The reason for this is that it’s typically beneficial to the child to live near both parents. When one decides to move the child out of state, the other one is not able to enjoy his/her right to visitation.
If a parent wishes to move out of state, the burden is on him/her to convince the court there is a legitimate reason for doing so. This is done at a relocation hearing.
One of the reasons that a court may allow for such a move is a job relocation if unable to find comparable local employment. If the court has any cause to believe the intent is to interfere in the child’s relationship with the other parent, it won’t grant the relocation.
What if the court hasn’t placed restrictions on where a child can live?
When there isn’t a court order with restrictions on a particular area the child must reside in, this still doesn’t give a parent the right to move out of state without first getting the court’s permission.
The parent wanting to move must talk with the other parent about his/her intentions. Of course, if permission is granted the move can take place. But if not, the parent is unable to move.
What are the potential repercussions a parent can face for attempting to move a child out of state?
The other parent can file a temporary restraining order to stop the move. If the parent violates the restraining order, that parent could face charges of parental abduction. This offense is a state felony which could result in jail time. So before making such a drastic decision to move a child out of state, it’s important to consider the implications.
If you believe you have a valid reason for moving, talk to an attorney about Texas child custody laws and what you’ll have to do to get permission. Warren & Migliaccio helps parents in Dallas and surrounding areas work through their child custody and other related cases. Call (888) 584-9614 to set up an appointment.