Suppose that you have gone through a divorce from your spouse and are attempting to adjust to life as a single adult raising a child in different households. You may need to find a new place to live and do so on a budget with one income instead of two.
This is challenging because not only will you have less money to live on than during your marriage; there is likely order from the judge in place that restricts where you can move if your children live with you primarily.
Moving after divorce comes with a catch
The issue with moving after you have secured a divorce from your spouse is that no matter what the reason is, you will likely need to work something out with your ex-spouse before doing so. Suppose, for example; you have the opportunity to take a new job within your company in the months after your divorce. The catch is that your new job (that pays almost twice as much as your old job) is located across the state in another city.
If your children reside primarily with you, what can you do to remain in line with your Final Decree of Divorce's orders on living within a specific geographic distance from your spouse?
Your divorce court made decisions in your case based on what is in your child's best interest. This means that above all else (including considerations related to a new job and more pay), your children would come first and what was in their best interests would be considered to be the most crucial factor when rendering orders related to your divorce.
Part of operating in the best interest of your children is to ensure that your children have an opportunity to have continuous and lasting contact with both you and your ex-spouse in a safe and stable environment. Ultimately, the decision as to whether or not to allow you to relocate with your children depends on your specific case's facts and circumstances.
Modifying your divorce decree to allow for a relocation
If you file for a modification of your divorce decree to put yourself in a position where you can move to the city where your new job would be, you can expect to find out whether or not you will be able to move one way another.
I tell clients in this position that there is no middle ground in a situation like this, unlike many family law questions. Your goal is to be able to move to take the new job. You will either achieve that goal or fail at achieving that goal. There is no compromise position.
Since you cannot expect to compromise with your ex-spouse, assuming that they are against the move, you may seek to have a study done of your family to have a judge understand the particular circumstances at play.
As we touched on earlier, the decision will wholly be about your children and how they would be able to adjust to a potential move and their inability to see their other parent as much. A psychological study could be done of the children to understand if it would even be conceivable for a move to occur.
Suppose you can win your modification case, and you are allowed to move with your children. In that case, it is foreseeable that you will need to pay a portion (if not all) of your ex-spouse's transportation costs associated with their now having to travel a much greater distance to spend time with your children.
The flip side of paying transportation costs would be that you may lose out on child support that you had previously been able to receive. Either way, the costs of raising your children will now have to be evened out somewhere, given that you have added in a factor to the situation that will make life more difficult for all parties involved.
Preparing your case if you are the non-moving parent
Suppose that you are the parent who will not be moving and instead is facing the prospect of having your ex-spouse move a great distance away with your children. What can you do to prepare yourself and your case to ensure that this does not happen?
You would want to think it through and see just how much your visitation rights and time with your children will be affected by the move. If your ex-spouse wants to move across the country with the children, you would likely lose multiple weekends of visitation per month as well as your weeknight together with your children. This determination will allow you to make this point evident to a court.
What do your children stand to gain from this move- other than having one parent who earns more money? Will your ex-spouse be moving closer to their extended family, thus giving your children more opportunity to be with family they had previously not known well? What about your family? Will they lose any ability to build relationships with your children due to the move?
These are the elements you should consider when dealing with this type of situation. The burden is on your ex-spouse to present a case as to why a move should be allowed. This won't be easy to do considering our state's policies, but you should not take this for granted. Begin to think about the circumstances of your case so that you can prepare your attorney with this knowledge from early on.
Questions about relocation after a divorce with children? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
To learn more about post-divorce life, please do not hesitate to contact our office today. A free-of-charge consultation is available six days a week with one of our licensed family law attorneys.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's essential to speak with one of our Houston, TX, Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.