Divorce and Relocation: Can I take my kids?

“I have to move, but my ex-spouse still lives here. Can I take my kids?”

This is a question that we hear fairly often here at Guest and Gray. Many people find themselves having to relocate for work or the need to be closer to family. However, for divorced parents, this problem is exacerbated by geographic restrictions that say where there children must live. These are known as “Geographic Restrictions”

Geographic restrictions most often place restrictions on the county in which you may live, or the maximum distance from the other parent that you may live. These restrictions are either negotiated by the parties or provided by court order. This means that if you want to relocate out of your geographic area, you have to go to court again and explain the reasons for your relocation.

Never just move without telling anyone. The other parent needs to be notified of your intention to move, and the only valid way to do that is to request a relocation hearing. Failing to do this would likely be a violation of either the court order or the agreement you and the other parent had regarding where you’d live. Both types of geographic restrictions are enforceable in court and, if violated, could affect your status as a joint managing conservator of your child.

Typically with relocation, you must show a genuine need, such as job relocation (if you cannot find similar work in the area) or the need to be closer to your family. If moving to be closer to “home”, it is important to show that being closer to family will provide you and the children with  a network of support. If not, then the court may begin to think you are just trying to move your children away from your ex-spouse and disrupt their relationship and that is a BIG no-no. The court will not like that.

Very likely, the other parent will seek a temporary injunction until the judge has made a decision on the move at the relocation hearing. This means that you’re stuck until after the hearing is over.

Relocation may not seem like such a big deal, but it affects the rights of the other parent to see and have a relationship with their children. Because of this, in all likelihood, it will be hashed out in court.

If you find yourself in this precarious position, call us here at Guest and Gray Law firm at 972-564-4644.We would be pleased to assist you in this and all of your family law related matters.