What is the law regrading moving out-of-state with your children?

My daughter has 2 children (2 & 4) both out of wedlock with 2 different fathers. The 2 year old’s father is not in the picture. She has joint custody of her 4 year old (father has him 2 days a week). My daughter is struggling to survive (neither father pays child support). She would like to move out of tate with her mother and I (we have a 4 bedroom home and would let her move in with us). What are her options?

Asked on November 29, 2011 under Family Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, a parent can move where ever they would like with their children.  The exception would be if there was a court order in place which limited her movement.  You mention that she had joint custody with regard to the 4 year old.  There is most likely a paragraph in that custody order which grants her the exclusive power to decide the residence of the child.  Some courts will restrict the area where a parent can move to, but is the exception rather than the rule.  So what your daughter needs to do is to read her divorce decree carefully and see what rights and limitations are contained within that order.  If she doesn't understand what she's reading, she should have a family law attorney review it with her.  If the order does contain a geographic restriction, she can still petition the court to lift the restriction, especially since neither dad is paying child support.

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