Father hugging daughter before he moves out of state.

Can I Move Out of State if I Have Joint Custody?

When a Texas couple divorces, it isn’t uncommon for one of them to want to move out of state. However, things can get tricky when a child is involved, especially if the parents share joint custody. If you have joint custody of your child and want to move out of state, please review the information below. For additional guidance, please contact a Denton County child custody attorney

What is Joint Custody? 

In Texas, unless there is a history of family violence involving either parent or one parent has demonstrated an inability to act in the child’s best interests, courts presume that parents should share joint custody of their children. Joint custody (also called “joint legal conservatorship” in Texas) doesn’t refer to the amount of time each parent spends with the child. Rather, the term refers to the rights both parents have to make decisions for their child, including education and health care decisions. When determining what type of custody to grant divorcing or separating parents, the court examines several factors, including:

  • The wishes of the child 
  • The current physical needs of the child
  • The future physical needs of the child
  • The current emotional needs of the child
  • The future emotional needs of the child 
  • The parenting abilities of the parents
  • The programs available to each parent to help promote the best interests of the child

As noted above, however, barring exceptional circumstances, most parents receive joint custody of their children. And while joint custody is often in the best interests of the child, it can make relocation tricky for the parent who has physical custody of the child. 

Relocation and Joint Custody

When a child’s home has been restricted to a particular area in Texas, whether by the court or by agreement of the parents, one parent can’t relocate with the child outside of that geographical area without first obtaining court approval. Typically, this means that the parent who wishes to relocate must first seek a court order to modify the child custody arrangement. However, even if the original custody order or parenting plan doesn’t restrict a child’s residence to a specific  location in Texas, this doesn’t mean that one parent can relocate with a child without considering the other parent’s wishes. In fact, a parent who opposes such a move can challenge the relocation in court and obtain a temporary restraining order to prevent the move until a hearing can be held.

Therefore, it’s important to consult with a Denton County child custody attorney before moving out of state if you have joint custody of your child. 

Contact our Denton County Child Custody Lawyer 

If you need help with a family law issue in Texas, you need a Denton family law attorney on your side. At Youngberg Law Firm, our Texas family law attorney will efficiently handle your family law issue while taking into account the unique circumstances of your family situation. At Youngberg Law Firm, you can rest assured that we will always treat you with dignity and respect while working towards the best possible outcome in your case. Please contact us today for a consultation.