It goes without saying that your divorce in Texas will impact your family dynamics. Maintaining a strong relationship with your kids may require more effort when you and your ex-spouse are joint managing conservators. You can imagine how much more difficult that becomes if your ex-spouse expresses a desire to move out of the state.
What sort of legal recourse is available to you in such a situation? Past posts in this blog touched upon the fact that you can seek to modify your custody arrangement. A potential relocation certainly merits the court’s consideration in this regard.
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
Many states have dedicated statutes addressing parental relocation. Texas, however, does not, rather, it follows the standards set by the federal Uniform Chil Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The purpose of this law is to deal with child abduction cases perpetrated by parents who move (without the authorization of the court) to new states where they hope to attain a more favorable custody ruling.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in regards to parental relocation, the UCCJEA sets several important points, specifically the idea of “home state” jurisdiction and the principle of “significant connection.” This law states that only jurisdictions where a child lives for at least 6 months can rule as the child’s home state. In addition, a state only merits consideration as a home state if a child has an existing “significant” connection in the state.
Additional protections available to you
You can see from the aforementioned explanation that the UCCJEA does protect you from the potential of your ex-spouse suddenly leaving the state with your kids. In addition, the law requires that your ex-spouse provide you with at least 60 days’ notice of their intent to move (giving you the chance to collaborate to amend your custody arrangement to accommodate the move).