If you are current engaged in divorce, are thinking about a divorce, or are post divorce, you may have thought about moving your children to another city, state or even country.
Although the idea of a fresh start in a new place may sound appealing, it may not be as easy as you think especially if
children are involved. Before you rush into any decision, here are three tips to consider before you start packing:
1. Is this move really in the children's best interest?
When you relocating your children, you are moving them away from the other parent. That may sound like a good idea, but for your children this may be a devastating move. As Texas courts do, you must also think about what is in the best interest of the children before you make any moves. If your ex-spouse has possession time with the children, chances are that your decree has a geographic restriction on the residency of the child. it will not be easy to convince the courts to lift those restrictions and allow you to move away unless you have a very compelling reason. Remember also that you will be moving your children from both family and friends and they will have much more limited access to that support system. If you have to litigate this matter, it may be a long time before you get a ruling from the Court, so timing of your move is also a critical consideration. If your children are old enough, you should open a dialogue with them very early on so you can access their wishes on whether they want to move at all.
2. Have I Developed a plan?
Have you thought everything through? What school will your children attend? Is that school as good or better than the one they are leaving? Who is going to take care of the children when you cant? Do you have family or friends nearby? Many parents consider relocating for work. Is your job definite or a "maybe"? Is the new job really a better opportunity? The court will be asking these and many more hard question. You better have a good answer and a solid plan.
3. Have I talked with the other parent?
Communicate with the other parent about your proposed move. Who knows? You may be shocked to find they are willing to cooperate with the move. That's the best scenario and would save you considerable litigation costs. By communicating you can together develop an appropriate parenting plan and visitation schedule. Communication can also promote creative solutions such as virtual visitation through Skype or Face-time. Open communication and assurance that you are not trying to cut the other parent out of the children's life will make deciding details such as travel expenses for visitation and other issues much easier and without expensive litigation.
There are just a few of the important considerations you have to take into account if you are thinking of relocating your children. You should talk with an experienced family lawyer about all the factors that the court will take into account.
Ultimately, relocation with children should not be an impulsive decision, but rather one that is well thought out and planned appropriately.
Attorney Sean Y. Palmer has over 19 years of legal experience as a Texas Attorney and over 25 years as a Qualified Mediator in civil, family and CPS cases. Palmer practices exclusively in the area Family Law and handles Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Adoptions, and other Family Law Litigation cases. He represents clients throughout the greater Houston Galveston area, including: Clear Lake, NASA, Webster, Friendswood, Seabrook, League City, Galveston, Texas City, Dickinson, La Porte, La Marque, Clear Lake Shores, Bacliff, Kemah, Pasadena, Baytown, Deer Park, Harris County, and Galveston County, Texas.