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The Woodlands Relocation Lawyer
It’s no secret that child custody matters can be challenging. But things can become even more complicated when the parent with primary custody of a child later has to relocate outside the geographic area originally prescribed by the court.

Regardless of whether you are the parent seeking relocation or opposing it, it’s important to have someone in your corner who understands the process and can help you protect your rights and interests. If you have questions about child relocation in Texas, speak with The Woodlands relocation attorney at Ramos Law Group, PLLC. We can discuss your options and see how our team can help you move forward today. 

Child Custody in Texas: An Overview

With respect to child custody matters in Texas, a conservator is an adult who has decision-making authority regarding the child’s life and upbringing. Under Texas law, there is a rebuttable presumption that appointing both parents of a child as joint managing conservators is in the best interest of the child. In other words, unless the court finds that joint conservatorship would impair the child’s life, health, or safety, both parents will share decision-making responsibilities. Sometimes, however, a sole managing conservator with exclusive decision-making authority may be appointed instead. 

Regardless of whether one parent is the sole managing conservator or both parents act as joint managing conservators—one parent must be appointed the conservator with the exclusive right to designate the child’s primary residence. This determination can be made by court order or through the agreement of both parents in a written parenting plan filed with the court. 

That said, the judge can apply certain restrictions even when the court designates one parent as the conservator with the exclusive right to determine the child’s primary residence. For example, under Texas Family Code § 153.133, a parenting plan for joint managing conservatorship may specify a particular geographic area where the custodial parent must maintain the primary residence.   

What Is Child Relocation in the Context of Child Custody in Texas?

Child relocation refers to a parent with primary custody wishing to move to a different location from the one established as the child’s primary residence in the original custody order. The requested relocation can be either within Texas or to a new state entirely. 

In most cases, if the proposed relocation significantly impairs the other parent’s custody or visitation rights, the request will not be granted unless you meet certain criteria. 

Texas Child Relocation Law

After the court enters a custody order, the parties must comply with its terms. This includes compliance with the specified geographic area where the custodial parent must maintain the child’s primary residence. However, there are situations where changes to the original custody order are justified.

Pursuant to Texas Family Code § 156.101, the court may modify an existing custody order if “the circumstances of the child, a conservator, or other party affected by the order have materially and substantially changed” since the entry of the initial order. However, the change would need to be in the best interest of the child for a judge to agree to modify an existing order.

Factors to Consider  

In determining whether to allow a proposed child relocation, the court will typically consider factors such as the following: 

  • The total distance of the requested relocation,
  • Availability and ease of reasonable travel arrangements for the child to see the noncustodial parent, 
  • Ability to preserve the relationship and visitation arrangements between the child and noncustodial parent,
  • Motivations of the party seeking relocation, 
  • The current relationship between the child and the noncustodial parent, and
  • The potential impact of the proposed relocation on the child’s relationship with the noncustodial parent. 

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, and the judge may consider other relevant factors as they see fit. 

Process of Child Relocation in Texas

Typically, the parent who is asking to relocate will need to seek a modification to the original custody order. Below are the general steps involved in requesting a modification to a child custody order under Texas law: 

  • One parent files a suit in court requesting modification of the applicable order; 
  • That parent serves the other parent with the lawsuit, providing notice of their intent to request child relocation;
  • The parties can attempt mediation or discussions to try to negotiate an agreement regarding the requested modification to the original custody order,
  • If no agreeable resolution can be reached, the parties will then have an opportunity to present their arguments to a judge at a child relocation hearing, and
  • The court will make a decision and enter an order on the requested child relocation. 

If you have questions about the child relocation process in Texas, be sure to speak with a qualified family law attorney to discuss your options in more detail. 

What to Expect at a Child Relocation Hearing

The primary purpose of the child relocation hearing is to allow the parties to present their respective arguments in court. At this hearing, parties should be prepared to: 

  • Present evidence in support of their positions,
  • Provide additional details through testimony regarding the reasons for or against the requested relocation,
  • Question witnesses who may have personal knowledge about the situation, and 
  • Argue their case to the judge.

Ultimately, the court will make its decision based on what is in the best interest of the child in light of the available facts. Accordingly, use this hearing as an opportunity to show the judge why the relief you are seeking is in the child’s best interest. 

The Woodlands Relocation Lawyer

Child relocation is a complex legal process that can have long-term effects on you and your family. Thus, while there is no requirement to have a lawyer for a child relocation in The Woodlands, TX, having an attorney on your side can be an invaluable asset.

At the Ramos Law Group, PLLC, we have devoted our practice to divorce and family law. As such, when you hire one of our attorneys, you can feel confident knowing that you have an experienced team in your corner with the knowledge, tools, and resources necessary to help you fight for your rights. If you have questions about the Texas child relocation process or aren’t sure where to begin, give us a call to schedule a consultation today.


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Our Client Testimonials

Superb Law Firm

The decision to end my 25-year marriage was not an easy one, but hiring the Ramos Law Group was. From the initial consultation to the execution of the Divorce Decree everyone at the firm displayed the utmost professionalism and I was treated as if I was their only client. My attorney Lindsey, always provided precise legal guidance, was usually one step ahead of the opposing counsel, and had a superb understanding of how things would play out in the court room. Additionally, whenever my case needed a little extra horsepower, Mary provided that "surge" to keep things on track.

Worth Every Penny

"Ms. Ramos and her entire staff worked with professionalism and compassion to guide me through the most difficult time of my life and to an outcome that was best for my family and myself. Ramos Law is incredible and I highly, highly recommend their services."

Custody case won

"I was recommended to see Mary Ramos for my on coming custody case,it was the best thing I could've done honestly.The Ramos law group was quick with emailed responses and telephone calls,informative with ANY questions I had and they also took action with what they thought would work,which it did,I had money troubles and they were still willing to help they sent me with a younger lawyer Lindsey Lewis to help save some money and she was the best!She knew what she was doing and Mary was still on my case to make sure things went smoothly and to catch any details Lindsey and I might have missed.All in all I am a very satisfied client and if I ever needed a family lawyer again I would come back.My case was won as I received primary for my daughter which is exactly what I asked for.If you're willing to listen to what they have to say and follow their guidance they're definitely worth hiring.I thought I wanted sole custody for my daughter and they explained that wasn't in the best interest for her and honestly they were right,they speak to you on a professional level and also a real level of how things are actually going to work and what could happen if you take a certain action.They definitely care about their clients and make their own bond with you,you're not just money in their pockets you turn into family. "

Divorce Attorney

"I received excellent advice and representation from Ms. Lindsey Lewis. She kept me updated at every step of the process, and I never felt as if my case was set aside. I would hire The Ramos Law Group in the future. "

Highly recommend

"I started my divorce with a lawyer who was not very responsive. My divorce case was complicated and needed more laborious scrutiny. Since the case was not moving forward I had to switch lawyers. Made the switch to Ramos Law group. Since the very first day Mary and her team have been very efficient and meticulous. Since the case was complicated the team had to go through myriads of pages in discovery. I was pleased with the legal team that helped us handle the paperwork in a very timely manner. All my questions were answered very promptly. The relay of information was easy with their software system. We finally had a law firm that we could trust. My divorce was finalized and I only have Mary and her team to thank for going through a difficult divorce. I would highly recommend the Ramos law group for their help and support for getting my life back on track. "

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