Relocation of Children Post-Divorce
Americans are a mobile people, and moving seems almost commonplace in today’s society. People remarry, economies nosedive, a parent can become ill, a job transfer occurs. Any number of things can bring about relocation. But Texas courts are very strict when it comes to relocating a child after a divorce. It is generally the court’s belief that a child have the right to see both parents and for both parents to be actively involved in their child’s life. In fact, the Texas Legislature has stated:
The public policy of this state is to:
- assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents . . . and
- encourage parents to share the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.
The Legislature has also made it clear that the best interest of a child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining issues of possession of and access to the child. Several courts throughout the United States have listed factors that should be considered in determining the best interest of a child when relocation is being considered:
- the child’s age;
- reasons for and against the move;
- comparison of education, health and leisure opportunities;
- the effect on extended family relationships;
- the ability of the noncustodial parent to maintain a full and continuous relationship with the child;
- whether the noncustodial parent has the ability to also relocate;
- the parents’ good faith in requesting or opposing the move;
- the nature of the child’s existing contact with both parents; and
- the child’s extracurricular activities in the community.
The courts are quick, however, to point out that each case must be evaluated on its own unique facts. Thus, it is imperative that you seek advice from an experienced attorney in the area of relocation of children after a divorce. An experienced attorney will know how to present evidence and documentation in a way that clearly identifies the best interest of your child.
And when the proposed relocation is interstate or international, the attorney you choose will also need to be prepared to assert appropriate conflict of law rules and applicable federal law.
The family law attorneys in this firm, Jerry Bain, and Michael Jarrett are board certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. This is your assurance that our lawyers have met stringent guidelines of competency and experience.