Child custody and its impact on relocation

A court order on custody impacts your conservatorship rights. Depending upon the specific order in place you may be limited in terms of what you can do with your children. This includes determining their residence and yours. Some parents can relocate with their children with little to no consideration paid to the parent. It is important to consider that the power to relocate has much to do with conservatorship routes as anything else. These conservatorship rights determine the extent to which you can make moves with your children both near and far.

The two types of conservatorship arrangements in Texas are sole managing conservatorships and joint managing conservatorships. A sole managing conservatorship vests in one parent all of the decision-making authority for the children. It is typical in a sole managing conservatorship that one parent can determine the primary residence of the children. Additionally, that parent may do so without a geographic restriction being in place. This parent has a tremendous amount of authority in determining the residence of children.

Sole managing conservatorships are the exception rather than the rule in Texas. As you will see, courts prefer parents to be named as joint managing conservators. However, there are situations where a sole managing conservatorship is appropriate. These include situations where domestic violence, child abuse, or drug and alcohol abuse has occurred. When it is clear to a court that one parent is not able to responsibly exercise decision-making authority. Consider that, also, the sole managing conservatorship may not be permanent.

Joint managing conservatorships

The second type of conservatorship arrangement is a joint managing conservatorship. In a joint managing conservatorship you and your co-parent share decision-making capabilities with one another. The court’s preference is that both you and your co-parent play an active role in raising your child. Therefore, in most circumstances, you and your co-parent should expect to be named as joint managing conservators.

However, being named as joint managing conservators does not necessarily mean that you and your co-parent have equal rights in all facets of your child’s life. Specifically, one parent may have an advantage when it comes to making decisions about your child’s education, health, or even where your child will reside primarily.

The preference of a court is to name you and your co-parent as joint managing conservators. Talk with an experienced family law attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan about circumstances in your life. You may find that a joint managing conservatorship is not appropriate considering your specific circumstances. Recall that the best interest of your child is what matters most when determining conservatorship.

Geographic Restrictions

One of the important considerations when it comes to determining conservatorship in a family law case is that under a joint managing conservatorship, a geographic restriction typically becomes relevant. A geographic restriction puts the primary conservator in a position where he or she must reside in a certain geographic location. Essentially, the primary conservator cannot live wherever he or she wants. Rather, their residence is restricted to a defined geographic location. That could be an area as small as a school district or as large as the state of Texas.

You will find that in Texas child custody cases, geographic restrictions are typical. Do not expect to be named as the joint managing conservator of the child without also having a geographic restriction placed upon you. Again, this is done to consider the best interests of your child. The presumption under a joint managing conservatorship is that your child is better off having a relationship with you and your co-parent.

Determining an appropriate geographic restriction for your case means thinking about the needs of your child. Many families do not think through the issues in a geographic restriction sufficiently. As a result, it is the child who ends up suffering as a result. Negotiate this issue with an eye toward detail. The more you consider it with your co-parent the better off your child will be. Families who focus on the details in a case find themselves with fewer issues to argue about after the family dog case ends.

The difference between a geographic restriction and a relocation attempt

Geographic restrictions typically serve as an obstacle for families seeking to relocate. Again, the geographic restriction is typically placed to increase stability in the child’s life. As a secondary factor, it serves to protect the relationship between the non-primary parent and the children. In other instances, a non-primary parent would be forced to follow the primary conservator whoever he or she chose to move.

Consider a situation where a geographic restriction exists in your case. Next, you asked the court to allow that geographic restriction to be lifted. For the court to consider this several different factors are considered. Your child’s age and their relationship to your community is critical. Younger children who do not have much in the way of a relationship with their community aren’t as tied to their current surroundings. However, older children almost certainly have more of a relationship with your community.

Consider these factors when attempting to relocate

The most important factor to consider is the impact of a move on your child’s relationship with their other parent. It is usually very difficult to make an argument that you would be able to move your child a great distance from your co-parent without impacting their relationship. The greater the distance between parents and children the less likely there is to be a good relationship. This is the starting point for any relocation discussion with the court.

Your child’s relationship both with you and your co-parent is examined. For example, if your child has never been able to form a strong relationship with your co-parent because he never takes an interest in him or her then that is also a factor for a court to consider. As you can tell, this entire discussion is one about competing interests and different factors that are relevant to many families.

Figuring out a way for your co-parent and your child to maintain a strong relationship is critical. There may be circumstances which merit consideration. Inexpensive and simple travel arrangements are one of those. It is conceivable that a father who was also a pilot may be able to facilitate travel for his children which makes a relocation on your part simpler. However, the needs of your children come first and foremost.

Facts matter in a relocation case

When it comes to the important issues in a child relocation case, the facts matter a great deal. It is not possible to tell you straight away of your chances at success in this type of case. The reason is that the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan would need to know the exact circumstances ongoing in your case. Family law cases are incredibly fact-specific. Understanding how the facts impact your case is a major consideration.

A court has the task of balancing all these factors relevant to your case. The law is the same across all different family law cases. However, how the law interacts with your case differs from how the law interacts with another person’s. Judges are provided with a great deal of discretion in this area. Not only does the judge matter but their experiences due too.

In a relocation case, a parent such as yourself needs to be able to balance their expectations, the law, and their specific circumstances. On top of that, there are many other factors at play here that relate to the best interests of your child. All that being said, working with an experienced family law attorney matters a great deal. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan is here to help you balance these considerations and make good decisions for your family.

Geographic restrictions and their application in a relocation case

Thus far, we have been talking about geographic restrictions as a means to protect the parent-child relationship. Primarily, it is the non-primary parent who stands to gain more from a geographic restriction. However, the non-primary parent may be the one who would like to relocate. This occurs when the non-primary parent requests that a modification go into place that lifts a geographic restriction. If this happens then both parents are free to live wherever they choose. However, going to court is not necessary. Once the non-primary parent moves beyond the geographic area then the restriction no longer applies.

What are the circumstances under which relocation is acceptable?

Primary custody often rests with single mothers. Mothers are more often than fathers named as the primary conservator of children period from there, mothers have circumstances arise where they feel the need to move soon after a family law case. This is due to several reasons. Where and how they move impacts a relocation case immensely.

For these parents, relocation there’s a possibility. However, it should not be viewed as anything close to a sure thing period rather, the circumstances under which relocation is possible are fairly limited. Working with an experienced family law attorney provides you with the greatest advantage when it comes to securing the right to relocate.

The most straightforward circumstance under which relocation is allowable occurs when you work out an agreement with your co-parent. For instance, consider a situation where you talk with your co-parent about the possibility of relocating. After some thought, he agrees that it would be in the best interest of your child. In that case, many families would simply leave it at that and go about the relocation as desired. However, this is not advisable.

Working out the details of an agreed relocation

Even when a relocation agreement is reached between you and your co-parent that does not necessarily mean that your work is done. Rather, steps need to be taken to solidify the agreement and think through all the details of the case. The more work you do now the better the outcome will be for your child. The last thing you want is to work out an agreement only to find that there are problems you all did not consider.

Adjusting child support is one of the topics which needs discussion. Your child support needs an increase given that relocation means you will have more time with your child. This in and of itself could be a situation where your co-parent hesitates on agreeing to the relocation. Or you may be willing to allow for no increase in child support so long as the relocation can proceed. Again, the specifics of your circumstances matter a great deal when it comes to relocation and the lives of your children.

This is a good time to think about your household budget as it pertains to relocation. When was the last time that you and your family worked out a thorough budget? This could be you sitting at the computer and thinking about your income and what are relocation would mean to you and your household. Many times, there are straightforward considerations that you have not paid close attention to as of yet. The time to pay close attention to these details comes right now.

A relocation as ordered by a court

When you and your co-parent are not able to come to an agreement on the issues in a relocation case then you would ask the court to step in. In that case, a judge would be tasked with considering the evidence at hand. From there, the court considers the best interest of your child. If the judge finds that it is in the best interest of your child to consider a modification, then a material and substantial change in circumstances would need to be found. This is the crux of a modification case. The facts and circumstances are typically more elaborate than you would find in a standard divorce or child custody case.

Again, trying to balance the best interests of your child and their relationship with your co-parent is difficult. On top of that, you are asking the court to decide on every location which may be based on what is in your best interest, as well. With that said, we at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan excel in situations where the balancing of competing interests is necessary.

How functional will your child’s life be in a new location?

Ultimately, a family court concerns itself with the functionality of your child’s life in a new place. Essentially, your child’s well-being is the most critical issue in this analysis. Unless you convince a court that a potential circumstance is nearly perfect, relocation will not be considered. For instance, the safety and stability of your child’s new living arrangement is of the utmost importance. Do you have the ability to afford a safe living arrangement for your child? Can you afford to live on your own or will you be living with another person? This is what a judge would focus their attention on.

Does your child have a relationship with their extended family here in Texas? Grandparents, uncles, and aunts are not the primary consideration in a child custody case. However, a judge would not make decisions that are contrary to those relationships if it can help it. The age of your child also matters. An older child who has an established relationship with extended family in this area would be a reasons for a relocation to not be allowed.

Finally, your co-parent’s willingness and ability to manage a long-distance relationship is also important. Long-distance parenting means making more of an effort to coordinate visitation. It also means taking every opportunity to work for communication and relationship building. Is your co-parent capable of managing this type of relationship? Do you have confidence that he or she can make this work?

Managing your relocation case with an experienced attorney

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan thanks you for spending time with us today here on our blog. Our team of attorneys offers free of charge consultations. No matter where you are with your relocation case our attorneys are quick to help. A case that needs to be filed can find help in our office. Likewise, we can guide you and your family while you consider whether a relocation case is right for you.

No two families are created alike. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan treats each of our clients with a great deal of respect and decency. We do not take for granted the responsibilities interested by each client. When it comes to managing a relocation case there are so many moving pieces to consider. Fortunately, the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan have the experience you need to achieve whatever goals you have for your case.

Important considerations for relocation

Thank you for choosing to spend part of your day today with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our experienced family law attorneys take a great deal of pride in being able to serve our communities. If you have any questions about the material shared with you today, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We offer free-of-charge consultations where your questions are addressed. From there, helpful information is provided that can assist you and your family. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan is on your side.

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