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Moving Out of State When You Share Joint Custody of a Minor Child

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Child custody orders are never permanent, and so long as your shared children are under the age of 18, there is always the potential to make changes to your orders to accommodate the changes in your life. Establishing new lives post-divorce can be exciting yet challenging, and can come with a number of unexpected opportunities, such as job offers out of state, work transfers, or just the simple need to create a new life for yourself.

However, many parents find it difficult to make any of the aforementioned changes, as they believe themselves to be 'stuck' where their child's other parent lives-or at least within 30 miles of there. This does not have to be the case. With a little give and take and an experienced Dallas, Texas custody lawyer on your side, you and your former spouse can come up with a long-distance custody agreement that keeps your child's best interests the number one priority, but that also allows you to reach your full potential as a parent, an employee, and an individual.

Likelihood That Permission to Move Will Be Granted

Before you make any final decisions regarding your move, arrange a meeting with your ex-spouse, their lawyer, and your own family law attorney. Together, the four of you should draw up a revised custody agreement that details the following:

  • How visitation will be divvied up after the move;
  • The amount of contact via telephone, email, and mail the other parent will expect; and
  • Travel arrangements for visitation, including travel expenses.

Once you have a new agreement drawn up, request a court date to appear before a judge, who will then determine whether or not your new agreement is fair and in the best interests of your child.

The judge may also inquire about the following:

  • Your motive for moving;
  • The distance the move will create between your child and the parent left behind;
  • Your child's relationship with the parent left behind;
  • The possible effects such a move will have on your child; and
  • The likelihood of your child maintaining a relationship with the other parent after the move.

If the judge does grant you permission to move, there is a possibility that the state with jurisdiction over your child custody orders may change as well. However, under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJEA), Texas will retain jurisdiction over your child custody orders unless the new state should become your child's new 'home state' - meaning they gain a greater connection with their new state and lose their connection to Texas. If this should happen, the new state will have jurisdiction regarding future child custody issues.

If you are the non-residential parent, and you would like to relocate but still retain visitation rights with your child, you are also protected by the UCCJEA. However, you still need to work out the details with your former spouse regarding visitation schedules, holiday vacations, summer vacations, birthdays, and other special occasions. You must draw up a new visitation schedule and present it to a judge for their approval.

Hire a Family Law Attorney

At the Law Offices of Stephen Clark, we have experience in helping our clients maintain healthy relationships with their children while still pursuing their career and life goals out of state. If you or your former spouse is thinking of moving out of state in the near future, retain the help of one of our knowledgeable custody lawyers. We can help you negotiate the terms of a long-distance custody arrangement, and ensure that both you and your former spouse maintain a strong bond with your shared child, no matter where in the world you should be. To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys today, contact the Clark Law Group at 469-906-2266 or online.

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