When your marriage ends, moving can seem like the fresh start you need. When you have children with your former spouse, however, your custody agreement will determine whether you can relocate with your kids. 

Learn about the factors that influence relocation and child custody in Texas. 

The initial custody agreement 

Texas uses the term “joint managing conservatorship” to indicate the shared parental right to make decisions that impact the child’s life, including where he or she will reside. State law presumes this shared right unless one parent has a history of domestic violence or acting outside the child’s leading interests. 

The custody agreement will also indicate the assignment of a primary parent. When one parent is the primary parent, the other will have visitation. When neither parent is the primary, the court will create a shared possession schedule that designates when the child lives with each parent. In both cases, the court or the parents can establish a geographic area where the child must live, usually the current residential county and the surrounding counties. Parents who wish to move outside that area with the child must have court permission to do so. 

Notice of relocation 

When the custody agreement does not designate a residential area for the child, you must provide notice of your intent to move to the other parent. He or she can file an application with the court to hold a relocation hearing. At this court date, you must prove that your reasons for the move support the child’s most favorable interest, while the other parent can provide evidence to the contrary. 

Texas courts have the discretion to allow relocation on a case-by-case basis. The judge will consider the relationship the child has with each parent; his or her adjustment to the current home, school, and community; and whether the parent who wants to move will foster a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.