For most parents, protecting their relationship with their children is the most important issue in a contentious divorce. You want to make sure that you still play an important role in the lives of your children and protect your bond with them. Seeing your children regularly is an important part of protecting that relationship. The same is true for your ex, who will also continue to play a critical role in the lives of the children you created together.
While you may want to do what is best for your children as the custodial parent, you may also desire a fresh start. Many people start looking for ways to change their life after divorce. You might start applying for better jobs or consider going back to school or moving across the country to be closer to your family.
It’s important to understand that there are many limits imposed on custodial parents under Texas law and rights for non-custodial parents that could limit your ability to travel with the children.
The courts may restrict your travel or ability to move
Taking your kids on a trip to Disneyland or to Washington D.C. to explore the museums there can be a great way to bond and put the stress of a divorce behind you. However, if your ex has concerns that you may attempt to keep the children out of state, they may worry about your request to travel with the children. The same is true if you decide you want to move out of the county or state to be closer to family or to accept a better job.
You will possibly have to go to court to obtain permission to move or even to travel outside of Texas. In the case of vacation travels, the courts may simply limit how long you can go or order you to stay in the United States.
When it comes to actually moving more than a hundred miles away from your former spouse, you will likely need to demonstrate that you have a valid reason for doing so, such as a job offer. Your ex will also have an opportunity to present their side of the situation to the courts, who will then have to make a determination based on the best interest of the children in your family.
If your motives are appropriate, the courts shouldn’t cause issues
Some parents will intentionally keep their children away from their ex as a way of alienating the children from that parent. If your ex or the court honestly believes that that is the motivation in your situation, it is possible that the courts will not approve your request to travel or move.
However, provided that you are simply trying to do something fun with your children or rebuild your life after a divorce, the courts will likely uphold your right as the custodial parent. It’s important to know that predicting the exact outcome of modifications to custody isn’t possible because the courts must interpret the law based on your circumstances.
Discussing the situation with an experienced Texas family law attorney can help you strategize and build a case that can convince the courts that allowing your travel is in the best interest of the kids.