Let us say you have been offered a promotion at work. It is a wonderful opportunity, but it involves moving to a new office out of state.
As the custodial parent, you want to take your 12-year-old son with you. How does the other parent view the proposed move? Will the court give its consent to modifying your child custody agreement?
Making a change
In the state of Texas, the custodial parent must give the noncustodial parent 60 days' notice of a proposed relocation, if at all possible. The notice must include the date of the move and the new residence address.
The point of view of the court
When you wish to modify your child custody agreement, the child's best interests will always be the priority in the view of the court. Relocation is a common reason for modification, but the court will have several questions.
- Will there be proximity to any family members at the new location?
- What sort of involvement or non-involvement will the noncustodial parent have?
- How will the move affect your son's educational, psychological or religious needs?
- Will the move be too disruptive to your son's life? What about friendships and activities?
Also, at the age of 12, your son is able to express his own opinions about the move, and the judge may very well want to hear them.
A new visitation schedule
How you and the noncustodial parent intend to change the visitation schedule, known as the standard possession order, or SPO, in Texas, will be an important consideration. Your new parenting plan may, for example, include longer time periods for visitation, especially during the summer or during holidays.
The court will also want to know about your plans for travel arrangements, including costs. The noncustodial parent may resolve to call or email the child more often, perhaps use Skype or a similar method of visual communication if the boy will be living at a considerable distance from his former home.
Approving your request
Relocation is a big step for everyone to consider. A move involves many factors, and the judge who hears the case will want to make sure the change will be good for your son. If you and your ex-spouse have come to an understanding on the matter and you are well-prepared when you go before the judge, he or she will likely approve your petition for child custody agreement modification.