Laws on Moving Out of Texas During a Divorce

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    Freedom To Relocate

    • If you and your spouse are engaged in divorce proceedings and you have no children, Texas will not prevent you from relocating anywhere you choose to go.

      However, divorces can often go on for months or even years in some instances and they may involve several appearances in court or with mediators that you will need to attend. If you plan to move during this process, be prepared to travel back and forth for the necessary hearings until the divorce is final. Legally, there is nothing stopping you from relocating during a divorce.

    Texas Family Code

    • The Texas Family Code is a public policy that attempts to assure any children of divorce have continuing contact on a regular basis with both parents as long as both parents act in the best interests of the child involved.

      Because of this code, a parent who is engaged in divorce proceedings in which custody and visitation has not been finalized may not take the child out of state to live without the permission of the other parent. Only one parent will be given the right to designate the primary residence of the child, and even then the court may place restrictions on how far away the residence can be.

    Case Law

    • Lenz v. Lenz is a Texas family law case that set a precedent for the standards of deciding whether to allow divorced parents to relocate with their children. The idea of moving away from one parent with the child was once presumed to be the less desirable option, but the courts have moved toward a more "fluid balancing test" because of the ease of travel and easier and cheaper communication methods.

      Since the Lenz case, Texas has adopted a more open view regarding moving children out of state as long as there is a good faith reason for the move. Among the factors that are judged to determine the child's best interests include the reason for the move, comparison of education, health and opportunities, special needs, effect of extended family, effect on visitation and communication with the other parent.

    Court Presumption

    • Under the Texas Family Code, the court's presumption regarding the best interest of the child is still for the child to remain in the same area as the non-custodial parent. In Texas, when this determination has been made, the child's residence is then bound to the county the non-custodial parent lives in or a county connected to his or her home county, according to the Park Cities Law.

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