On the move after your Texas divorce? Be sure to read this blog post first

Picture this: you find yourself standing at a crossroad, divorce in the rearview mirror, contemplating a fresh start in a new place. Maybe it’s the bustling city lights beckoning you with new job opportunities, or perhaps you’ve found love again in a faraway land. Whatever the reason, you’re faced with the heart-wrenching decision of moving away from your children after divorce.

But fear not! In this engaging and insightful blog post, we’ve got you covered. We’ll dive into the legal requirements, the court’s perspective, and practical strategies to make this delicate journey smoother for everyone involved. So, if you’re wondering how to handle the complexities of moving away while ensuring your child’s best interests are met, you’ve come to the right place.

Short Answer: Can I Move Away from my Children after Divorce?

Yes, you can! But before you pack those suitcases and hop on a plane, there are crucial aspects you need to understand and navigate. From legal considerations and court evaluations to co-parenting strategies and the emotional well-being of your children, we’ll explore it all. So, keep reading as we uncover the secrets to successfully moving away from your children after divorce without sacrificing the strong bonds you hold dear.

Reasons to keep reading:

  1. Discover the legal requirements surrounding parental relocation in Texas and gain a clear understanding of the court’s perspective on these matters.
  2. Explore the role of parenting plans and how they can help address relocation challenges while prioritizing your child’s well-being.
  3. Learn practical tips on how to effectively communicate and notify the other parent about your proposed move, ensuring transparency and reducing potential conflicts.
  4. Uncover the process of modifying court orders related to relocation, empowering you to navigate the legal aspects confidently.
  5. Gain insights into the impact of relocation on child custody, visitation arrangements, and the importance of maintaining a strong parent-child relationship.
  6. Explore alternative dispute resolution methods and strategies for co-parenting after a long-distance move, allowing you to nurture healthy and meaningful connections with your children.
  7. Delve into the complex world of international relocation, understanding the implications, legal frameworks, and considerations involved.
  8. Discover how to navigate educational and school-related challenges that may arise during the relocation process, ensuring your child’s educational needs are met.
  9. Gain insights into the emotional adjustment of children after a parental relocation and learn strategies to support their well-being during this transition.
  10. Explore the potential challenges of parental alienation in relocation cases and how to address them effectively.

So, whether you’re a parent facing the difficult decision of moving away or someone seeking a deeper understanding of this complex topic, join us on this bittersweet journey as we unravel the intricacies of moving away from children after divorce while preserving the love and connection that binds families together. Let’s dive in!

Moving Away from Children after Divorce: Navigating the Bittersweet Journey

If you are like any number of people who have gotten a divorce in recent years in Texas, you have contemplated moving from your current area in order to make a new start for yourself in another location. While the desire or need to move is a common trait among many recent divorcees, the specific reasons that go into the decision to move may be unique. Let’s walk through a few of those reasons right now.

First off, you may have been contemplating a move even before you got divorced due to a change in the job market in your area. More and more, skilled and higher paying jobs are shifting to urban areas. Texas is no exception to this trend. The four largest metropolitan areas in Texas (Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin) have seen population explosions in recent decades. If you live in a small town and have a job that you enjoy, you may have thought about moving to keep your job if it were relocated to one of these areas.

Next, you may have gotten a divorce years ago and are now in a position where remarrying is in the cards for you. Divorce is more common in today’s world than in years past and it would follow that remarriage is also more common. If your new spouse is not a native Texan or resides in a different part of the state than where you met, it is not unrealistic to expect that you may be on the move sooner rather than later.

The other major factor that I think leads to people picking up and moving more frequently these days is the reality that it is easier to pick up and leave a place than ever before. With technology being at our fingertips there is less concern about leaving family behind than in years past. In prior generations people worked at the same place, lived in the same home and attended the same social and religious events that they had for their entire lives. With transportation and communication methods improving every year it is no longer a big deal to start anew.

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

If you and your spouse agreed in mediation to a resolution of your divorce then one of you was likely named as the joint managing conservator who has the right to determine the primary residence of your children. Joint managing conservators typically share in the parenting responsibilities. You all may even have similar amounts of visitation time with your kids. However, one area where your ex-spouse has an advantage over you, as far as rights are concerned, is that she will be able to have the kids live with her during year.

That is a huge right to possess. Not only does it mean that your ex-spouse will have more time with your kids, but it also means that she is able to dictate where your kids attend school. If your ex-spouse holds these rights where does that put you? Are you forever beholden to her decisions as to where the kids are going to live? Are you going to have to move at the drop of a hat if your ex-spouse decides to move?

The answer to those questions is, thankfully, no. Most final decrees of divorce contain within them a provision known as a geographic restriction. This is especially important for people of our generation who are on the move as much or more than any previous generation. A geographic restriction mandates that your children may reside in a pre-set geographic area. This means that your spouse cannot decide to move every couple months to any far flung location. For a person like you who wants to be a devoted mother or father, this is a very good thing.

Typically, the geographic restriction that is inserted into final decrees of divorce in Texas mandates that your children can reside in the home county (i.e. the county where you got your divorce) as well as any county that is contiguous to the home county. When you think about it, this is really a pretty broad area that your ex-spouse can move with the kids and still be in compliance with the court orders. As it happens, situations do arise that provide cause to want to modify the court orders in relation to moving, parental relocation and the geographic restriction.

Modifying court orders regarding parental relocation, moving and the geographic restriction

The court that granted you the divorce may also modify that court order. There are many, many ways that the final decree of divorce in your case may be modified but probably the most frequently modified orders relate to conservatorship rights, which parent is able to determine the primary residence of your children as well as issues related to the geographic restriction that we just finished discussing.

A court order related to children can be modified under certain circumstances. First, the modification cannot be granted unless the judge determines that it is in the beset interests of your child. So, even if the requested modification makes sense, is practical and would benefit you dramatically it will not be granted unless it would stand to benefit your child and be in their best interests.

The other part of the modification equation that we need to be aware of is that the requested modification must be made in the face of circumstances that have materially and substantially changed for either you, your ex-spouse or one of your children. That change must have occurred since the date that the final decree of divorce was signed by the judge. You cannot base a modification on circumstances that changed prior to the end of your divorce.

In regard to conservatorship rights, the Texas Family Code allows you to come in and modify the final decree of divorce if you can show that the modification is in the best interests of your child and your child (12 years old or older) has requested that he or she be able to live primarily with you rather than your ex-spouse. From my experience as a family law attorney, I can tell you that this is a big reason as to why people plan to file and eventually do file modification cases.

If you plan on filing a modification case within one year of your final decree of divorce being issued then the requirements for your doing so become more stringent. In this situation you would need to attach an affidavit (a sworn statement made under oath) that alleges that your child’s present environment may endanger their physical health or significantly impair their emotional development. In the alternative, a petition to modify conservatorship rights would need to be approved by the primary conservator or that primary conservator would have needed to relinquish custody to you for at least the past six months.

What if you have recently moved to Texas from another country with your family?

Relocation does not just involve Texans moving to other parts of our state or other parts of the United States. Relocation and movement often times involves people moving to Texas from other countries. If you and your family are immigrants to our country and state then you will want to pay attention to the information that we are going to cover in this section of today’s blog post.

Suppose that you and your spouse got a divorce in Texas. The divorce decree called for you and your ex-spouse being named as joint managing conservators of your children. You were named as the parent who has the right to determine the primary residence of your kids. That primary residence was confined to the state of Texas due to a geographic restriction that was included in your final decree of divorce.

Shortly after the divorce was made final, you went back to the court and filed a petition to modify the final decree of divorce. In your modification petition, you asked the judge to lift the geographic restriction so that you could move back home to Argentina with your kids. You had met a man on the internet and intended to marry him. In preparation for the move you had even looked at real estate in South America and have interviewed for new jobs once the move was complete.

The court in a situation like this would likely consider factors like these when determining how to rule. First of all, a simple “pros and cons” analysis would be performed. Why would the move be in the best interests of your kids? Why would the move not be a potentially good fit for your kids as far as their best interests are concerned? Educational, health and other considerations would need to be made. If your children have special needs- physical, emotional or other- those would need to be considered in relation to how best to accommodate those needs.

What impact would the move have on your children’s relation with your ex-spouse and your family in the United States? What sort of relationships do your kids have with your ex-spouse? Does he take advantage of the visitation that he has available to him? Are your former in-laws actively involved in the lives of your children? If the move were allowed to proceed, would your ex-spouse have the ability to move to Argentina as well to be closer to the kids?

This is just the beginning of the analysis for a court in a tricky situation like this. I will continue to go through the factors that your family court would consider before deciding whether to allow a similar move for you and your family in tomorrow’s blog post.

Legal Requirements for Parental Relocation in Texas

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.

The Process of Modifying Court Orders Related to Relocation

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

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.

Legal Rights and Protections for Parents Opposing a Proposed Relocation

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

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.


Congratulations, you’ve reached the end of our adventurous exploration into the world of moving away from children after divorce! We’ve covered the legal requirements, court considerations, co-parenting strategies, and even the emotional rollercoaster involved in this journey. But before we bid you farewell, let’s recap the valuable insights we’ve gained.

Short Answer: Can I move away from my children after divorce? Yes, you can! But remember, it’s all about doing it right and putting your children’s best interests first.

Throughout this blog post, we’ve uncovered the secrets to successfully navigating the delicate dance of relocation while maintaining a strong bond with your children. From notifying the other parent with finesse to ensuring you’re well-versed in the legal requirements, you’re now armed with the knowledge to make informed decisions.

We’ve delved into the world of co-parenting after a long-distance move, explored the impact on child custody and visitation arrangements, and even peeked into the realm of international relocation. Armed with practical strategies, you’re ready to face the challenges head-on and create a loving and supportive environment for your children, no matter the miles that separate you.

Remember, this journey is not without its hurdles. But with open communication, flexibility, and a sprinkle of creativity, you can turn these challenges into opportunities for growth and connection. So, as you embark on your own unique path, remember that you’re not alone. Many parents have successfully traversed this road before, and you can too.

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, and sometimes moving away from children after divorce becomes an inevitable chapter in our stories. But rest assured, with the knowledge and guidance we’ve shared, you have the power to turn this chapter into one filled with love, understanding, and unforgettable moments with your children.

So, dear reader, as you step out into the world armed with newfound wisdom, embrace this bittersweet journey. Cherish the moments, celebrate the victories, and remember that the love between you and your children knows no distance. May your path be filled with adventure, growth, and a resilient bond that withstands any miles that may separate you.

Wishing you all the best on your extraordinary journey of moving away from children after divorce. Safe travels, and may your hearts always find their way back to each other.

Book an appointment with Law Office of Bryan Fagan using SetMore


undefinedIf you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “Child Custody E-Book”

Other Related Posts

  1. How Much is a Relocation Case Going to Cost Me?
  2. What factors to consider if relocation is an issue in your divorce
  3. Relocation and Domestic Violence Moving Away for Safety?
  4. Understanding Child Relocation Cases: 2022 Expert Guide
  5. Relocation for Better Educational Opportunities?
  6. Relocation for Marriage or Remarriage
  7. Relocation for better Job Opportunities?
  8. What do I do first in my Relocation Case?
  9. Relocation to be Closer to Family
  10. Parental relocation post-divorce
  11. Relocation issues related to children and post-divorce life in Texas
  12. Child Custody and Relocation: Can you move outside Texas?
  13. Parental Relocation with children after a Texas Divorce

Frequently Asked Questions

Share this article



Related Articles

Relevant questions to ask a family law attorney in Texas

What is spousal spying?

Help! My ex-spouse kidnapped my child

Four important child support factors in Texas

Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Today!

At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, the firm wants to get to know your case before they commit to work with you. They offer all potential clients a no-obligation, free consultation where you can discuss your case under the client-attorney privilege. This means that everything you say will be kept private and the firm will respectfully advise you at no charge. You can learn more about Texas divorce law and get a good idea of how you want to proceed with your case.

Office Hours

Mon-Fri: 8 AM – 6 PM Saturday: By Appointment Only

"(Required)" indicates required fields