When you divorce in Texas, the family court sets terms for shared custody or co-parenting as well as child support or similar financial obligations. Shared custody is common, although it is entirely possible for the court to order joint custody while still giving one parent more parenting time than the other.

If your ex has more parenting time and is therefore the primary custodial parent, can they pack up your kids and move far away from you?

Neither parent can relocate with the children without approval

Some of the restrictions and terms set in a parenting plan under Texas custody laws will include limitations on relocations. The courts typically restrict how far a parent can move with the children without violating the custody order.

If your ex wants to move farther away than that, they will typically need to go to the court and request a modification before they move with your kids. You have the right to challenge their request for modification in order to protect your parenting time.

Do you suspect the move is motivated out of spite?

Do you have reason to believe that your ex wants to move solely because they want to limit your access to with the children? Have they threatened to cut you off from the children previously? If so, particularly if such threats are in writing, you may be able to challenge the modification request on the grounds that the goal is parental alienation.

The courts could decline your ex’s request or could even review the custody arrangement and give you more parenting time because of your exes attempts to separate you from the children. Standing up for your rights and your time with your children is critical if your ex wants to move prohibitively far away from you.