On the Move After Your Texas Divorce? Be Sure to Read This Blog Post First

Navigating life post-divorce can bring a myriad of challenges, especially when it involves relocating and the complexities of co-parenting. If you’re considering moving away from children after divorce, particularly in Texas, this blog post is a must-read. It provides essential insights and legal considerations to ensure a smooth transition for you and your children. Stay informed and prepared for this significant change with our expert advice.

Moving Away from Children after Divorce: Navigating the Bittersweet Journey

Moving Away from Children after Divorce

If you’re among the many Texans who’ve recently experienced a divorce, the thought of relocating for a fresh start might be on your mind. While the urge to move post-divorce is common, the motivations behind this decision are as varied as the individuals themselves. Let’s explore some of the key reasons driving this life-changing choice.

Career Opportunities and Urban Shifts

One significant factor could be job-related, especially in the evolving Texan job market. Increasingly, higher-paying and skilled positions are gravitating towards urban centers. Texas, with its booming cities like Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin, is a testament to this trend. If your career path or job relocation is steering you towards these metropolitan hubs, moving might not just be a choice, but a necessity.

New Relationships, New Beginnings

Another compelling reason could be the blossoming of a new relationship. In an era where divorce and remarriage are more common, finding love again might lead you to relocate. If your new partner hails from a different Texas region or even outside the state, moving to start a new life together could be on your horizon.

The Ease of Modern Mobility

Lastly, let’s not underestimate the impact of modern technology and transportation, which have made moving easier than ever before. Unlike previous generations who spent their entire lives in one community, job, or social circle, today’s advancements mean relocating doesn’t have the same sense of permanence. The world is more connected, making the decision to move a less daunting prospect.

In each of these scenarios, especially when it involves moving away from children after divorce, it’s crucial to consider the legal and emotional implications. Whether it’s for career advancement, new love, or simply the lure of a fresh start, understanding the nuances of such a move is vital for a smooth transition.

How Does the Texas Family Code Handle Persons Who Move After Divorce?

Moving after a divorce is really only a big deal if you have children. The court doesn’t really care where you move unless there is a court order that says otherwise. For Texas parents, there is no specific law on the books that deals directly with parental relocation after a divorce. Here is what you need to know as far as how the State of Texas feels about moving after a divorce when you have children.

The stance that the state of Texas takes on moving after a divorce is that you can do so, but it is the position of the state that your children will be better off having a relationship with both you and their other parent. The presumption that exists is that you make decisions that are in the best interests of your child. As a result, you have been provided with conservatorship, possession and visitation rights in relation to your children.

As you learned during your divorce case, the best interests of your children is what matters most to a judge. Putting your kids in a position where they have a stable, safe and violence-free environment is what matters to a family court judge. Assuming that you are able to meet these qualifications, the court ordered you to continue to have a close relationship with your children. These orders are reflected in how much visitation time you have with your kids as well as the degree to which you have rights to make decisions regarding medical, religious and educational decisions.

How Relocation and Children Can Figure Into Your Divorce Orders

Moving Away from Children after Divorce

In the aftermath of a mediated divorce agreement in Texas, it’s common for one parent to be designated as the joint managing conservator with the right to determine the primary residence of the children. While both parents usually share parenting responsibilities and have comparable visitation schedules, the parent with this right has a significant advantage, particularly in deciding where the children will live and attend school.

However, if you’re concerned about being at the mercy of your ex-spouse’s relocation decisions, there’s an essential safeguard in place: the geographic restriction. This clause in most Texas divorce decrees limits where your children can live, typically to the county of divorce and its contiguous counties. This provision ensures stability for your children and allows you to remain an active, involved parent, even post-divorce.

The geographic restriction creates a balance, providing a reasonably large area for potential relocation while protecting the interests of both parents. It’s a recognition of our increasingly mobile society, ensuring that the children’s lives are not disrupted by frequent or distant moves.

Yet, life is dynamic, and there may be legitimate reasons to reconsider these restrictions. In such cases, court orders regarding moving, parental relocation, and geographic limitations might need re-evaluation. The key here is the children’s best interest, guiding any decisions about modifying court orders to accommodate changing circumstances while ensuring consistent and meaningful parental involvement.

Modifying Court Orders Regarding Parental Relocation, Moving and the Geographic Restriction

In Texas, post-divorce modifications to court orders, especially concerning conservatorship rights and geographic restrictions, are not uncommon. These alterations primarily address which parent has the authority to determine the primary residence of the children and any changes to the previously discussed geographic limitations.

A court will only consider a modification if it’s in the best interest of the child. Even if the change seems logical and significantly benefits you, it won’t be approved unless it also positively impacts your child’s well-being.

Furthermore, the circumstances prompting the modification must have materially and substantially changed for you, your ex-spouse, or your child since the final divorce decree was issued. Changes that occurred before the decree’s completion are not valid grounds for modification.

Specifically, for conservatorship rights, the Texas Family Code permits modifications if it’s in the child’s best interest and, importantly, if the child, aged 12 or older, expresses a preference to live primarily with one parent over the other. As a family law attorney, I’ve observed that this is a common reason for pursuing modification cases.

If you’re considering filing for a modification within a year of your divorce decree, be aware that the criteria are more stringent. You must submit an affidavit stating that the child’s current living situation may harm their physical health or significantly impair their emotional development. Alternatively, the petition can be filed if the primary conservator agrees to the modification or if they have relinquished custody to you for at least six months. These requirements ensure that modifications are made judiciously, prioritizing the child’s safety and emotional health.

What if You Have Recently Moved to Texas From Another Country With Your Family?

Relocation in Texas doesn’t only mean moving within the state or across the U.S.; it often involves international moves, particularly for immigrant families. This section is crucial for those considering such a move following a divorce in Texas.

Imagine you’ve been through a divorce in Texas and you and your ex-spouse were named joint managing conservators of your children. You have the right to decide your children’s primary residence, but a geographic restriction in your divorce decree confines them to Texas. Later, you decide to move back to your native Argentina with your children, driven by personal reasons like a new relationship and potential job opportunities.

Moving Away from Children after Divorce

In this scenario, the court will conduct a thorough evaluation to determine if lifting the geographic restriction is in the children’s best interest. The analysis includes weighing the pros and cons of such a move. Educational, health, and other welfare factors are crucial, especially if your children have special needs.

Another critical aspect is the impact of the move on the children’s relationship with their other parent and extended family in the U.S. The court will consider the nature and strength of these relationships, the current involvement of the ex-spouse in the children’s lives, and the feasibility of maintaining these bonds after the move.

If the relocation is allowed, would the non-custodial parent be able to relocate to Argentina too, to remain close to the children? This decision requires careful consideration of numerous factors, focusing on the children’s best interests and well-being.

This analysis is just the beginning of what a family court would consider in such a complex case. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, where we’ll delve deeper into the factors influencing the court’s decision on international relocations post-divorce.

In Texas, parental relocation after a divorce is subject to certain legal requirements. When a parent with custodial rights intends to move away from their children, they must adhere to specific rules and regulations. These requirements are designed to protect the best interests of the child and ensure that both parents maintain a meaningful relationship with their children.

Factors Considered by the Court in Parental Relocation Cases

When a parent seeks to move away from their children after a divorce, the court takes several factors into consideration. The primary concern is always the well-being and best interests of the child. Courts evaluate factors such as the reason for the proposed move, the child’s relationship with both parents, the child’s educational and social needs, and the potential impact of the relocation on the child’s overall stability and development.

Factors Considered by the Court


Child’s Best Interests

The court always prioritizes the child’s well-being and considers factors such as stability, emotional and physical health, education, and social relationships.

Reason for the Proposed Move

The court assesses the reasons behind the parent’s decision to move, looking for valid justifications such as job opportunities, educational prospects, or better support systems for the child.

Relationship with Both Parents

The strength and quality of the child’s relationship with each parent are taken into account. The court aims to preserve and promote meaningful connections between the child and both parents.

Impact on the Child’s Stability

Disruptions to the child’s current living situation, school, community, and support networks are evaluated to determine the potential impact of the proposed move.

Educational and Social Needs

The court considers the child’s educational and social requirements, ensuring that the move will not adversely affect their access to quality education, extracurricular activities, or peer relationships.

Co-Parenting Arrangements

The court assesses the ability of the parents to effectively communicate, cooperate, and maintain a cooperative co-parenting relationship despite the geographical distance.

Child’s Preferences (if appropriate)

If the child is of sufficient age and maturity, the court may consider their preferences regarding the proposed move, taking into account their ability to articulate their desires and understand the consequences.

The Role of Parenting Plans in Addressing Relocation

Parenting plans play a crucial role in addressing parental relocation. These plans outline the rights and responsibilities of each parent, including provisions for potential relocations. Ideally, parenting plans should address relocation scenarios in advance to minimize conflicts and provide a framework for resolving disputes related to moving away from children after divorce.

How to Notify the Other Parent about a Proposed Move

When a parent intends to move away with their children after divorce, proper notification to the other parent is essential. The parent must provide written notice of the proposed move, including specific details about the new location, reasons for the move, and any proposed modifications to the parenting plan. Timely and transparent communication is crucial to maintaining trust and minimizing unnecessary conflicts.

If the parent seeking to move away and the noncustodial parent cannot reach an agreement regarding the proposed relocation, the parent wishing to move must file a petition with the court to modify the existing court orders. The court will evaluate the circumstances, including the reasons for the move and the potential impact on the child, before making a decision. It is important to follow the appropriate legal procedures to ensure that the court considers the proposed relocation fairly.

The Impact of Relocation on Child Custody and Visitation Arrangements

Relocation can significantly impact child custody and visitation arrangements. When a parent moves away, adjustments to the parenting plan may be necessary to accommodate the new distance. Courts strive to maintain the child’s relationship with both parents, and visitation schedules may need to be revised to ensure regular and meaningful contact with the noncustodial parent.

Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution for Relocation Disputes

Moving Away from Children after Divorce

Mediation and alternative dispute resolution methods can be valuable tools in resolving relocation disputes. These processes provide an opportunity for parents to discuss their concerns, interests, and potential solutions in a neutral and facilitated setting. Mediation can often help parents find mutually agreeable arrangements that consider the best interests of the child and minimize the need for contentious litigation.

The Importance of Considering the Child’s Best Interests in Relocation Cases

In all relocation cases, the child’s best interests are of paramount importance. Courts prioritize factors that promote the child’s stability, emotional well-being, educational opportunities, and relationships with both parents. The parent seeking to move away must demonstrate that the relocation serves the child’s best interests and provide evidence supporting their claims.

International Relocation and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

International relocation cases present unique challenges due to jurisdictional issues and potential complications arising from different legal systems. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction provides guidelines and procedures for resolving international child abduction cases and protecting the child’s rights across borders. It is essential to navigate international relocation cases with the utmost care and consideration.

Co-Parenting Challenges and Strategies after a Long-Distance Move

After a long-distance move, co-parenting can become more challenging. However, with effective communication, flexibility, and a focus on the child’s well-being, parents can develop strategies to navigate the distance. Utilizing technology for virtual visitation, maintaining open lines of communication, and creating a detailed parenting plan can help foster a healthy co-parenting relationship despite the geographical separation.

Custody Evaluations and Expert Testimony in Relocation Cases

In relocation cases, courts may order custody evaluations or seek expert testimony to gather comprehensive information about the child’s circumstances and the potential impact of the proposed move. Custody evaluations involve interviews, observations, and assessments conducted by mental health professionals to provide an impartial evaluation of the child’s best interests. Expert testimony can help courts make informed decisions regarding relocation.

The Role of Child Support and Financial Considerations in Relocation Cases

Relocation can have financial implications, including adjustments to child support arrangements. When a parent moves away with the child, expenses related to visitation, transportation, and communication may need to be considered. Child support obligations may also be reviewed to ensure that they reflect the new circumstances and the child’s needs.

Strategies for Maintaining a Strong Parent-Child Relationship after a Move

Maintaining a strong parent-child relationship after a move requires intentional efforts. Both parents should prioritize frequent and meaningful contact, explore virtual visitation options, and create opportunities for shared experiences despite the distance. Establishing consistent communication and demonstrating ongoing involvement in the child’s life can help nurture a positive and loving parent-child bond.

The Rights and Responsibilities of Noncustodial Parents in Relocation Cases

Noncustodial parents have rights and responsibilities in relocation cases. They have the right to be involved in major decisions affecting the child’s life and to maintain regular contact through visitation or virtual means. However, they must also respect the custodial parent’s right to relocate if it serves the child’s best interests. Balancing these rights and responsibilities requires cooperation and a focus on the child’s well-being.

Considerations for Military Families and Relocation Due to Military Orders

Military families may face unique challenges regarding relocation due to military orders. These families should be aware of specific legal protections provided by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and other military regulations. Understanding the impact of military service on relocation decisions and seeking legal counsel familiar with military family law can help navigate these complex situations.

Parents opposing a proposed relocation have legal rights and protections. They can present their case to the court, outlining reasons why the proposed move may not be in the child’s best interests. Providing evidence, expert testimony, and alternative proposals can strengthen their position. It is crucial for these parents to work with an experienced attorney to ensure their rights are protected.

The Impact of Relocation on the Child’s Education and School Arrangements

Relocation can significantly impact a child’s education and school arrangements. Parents must consider the quality of schools in the new location, potential disruptions to the child’s academic progress, and the availability of necessary resources and support systems. Collaborating with the other parent and involving the child’s school in the transition process can help mitigate potential challenges.

Social and Emotional Adjustment of Children after a Parental Relocation

Moving Away from Children after Divorce

Children may experience social and emotional adjustments after a parental relocation. They may need time to adapt to a new environment, make new friends, and establish a sense of belonging. Parents should be attentive to their child’s emotional well-being, provide support and reassurance, and seek professional help if needed. Open communication and a nurturing environment can facilitate a smoother adjustment period.

International Custody Disputes and Jurisdictional Issues in Relocation Cases

International relocation cases involving custody disputes present complex jurisdictional issues. Determining which country’s laws apply and which court has jurisdiction can be challenging. The involvement of the Hague Convention or other international legal frameworks may be necessary to resolve conflicts and protect the child’s rights across borders. Seeking guidance from experienced attorneys familiar with international family law is crucial in these situations.

Parental Alienation and Relocation Disputes

Parental alienation can be a concern in relocation disputes. When one parent seeks to move away, the other parent may fear losing their relationship with the child and resort to alienating behaviors. Courts take parental alienation seriously and prioritize the child’s access to both parents. It is essential to address and mitigate any signs of parental alienation during relocation cases.

As parents navigate the complexities of moving away from children after divorce, it is crucial to seek legal advice, maintain open communication, and prioritize the child’s best interests. By approaching relocation with empathy, understanding, and a focus on long-term co-parenting, families can minimize conflicts and create a positive environment for the child’s growth and well-being.


In conclusion, navigating the waters of relocation after a divorce in Texas is a multifaceted journey, steeped in both personal desires and legal constraints. Whether you’re considering a move within Texas, across the U.S., or even internationally, understanding the legal implications, especially concerning conservatorship rights and geographic restrictions, is paramount.

Remember, the court’s primary focus is always the best interest of the children involved. Any decision to move, particularly when it impacts your children’s living arrangements and access to the non-custodial parent, must be weighed carefully against these standards.

We’ve explored the complex dynamics of post-divorce relocations, from career-driven moves to the challenges of maintaining familial bonds across distances. It’s clear that such decisions are never made in isolation but are deeply intertwined with the emotional and developmental needs of your children.

As you contemplate your next steps, it’s vital to seek professional guidance to navigate these intricate legal waters. Every family’s situation is unique, and tailored legal advice is crucial in making informed decisions that align with your family’s needs and legal requirements.

This blog post serves as a starting point in understanding the broad contours of post-divorce relocation in Texas. If you find yourself at this crossroads, remember, you’re not alone. Many have navigated this path before you, and with the right support and information, you can make the best decision for your family’s future.

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