Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC

7 Tips For Divorced Parents Moving Internationally With A Child

If you are a divorced parent considering moving to another country with your child, you must proceed with caution. The same is true for an unmarried parent with child custody arrangements. Whether you are moving for work, to be with family or for any other reason, you must also consider the needs of the child, the rights of the other parent and your legal obligations before taking this step. Here are some important tips:

1. Be Able To Explain How The Move Will Benefit Your Child

While you may have a good reason to move, it is important that you are also able to present a compelling reason for your child to move with you. How might the move benefit your child? Will it give your child access to a better education? Will it allow your child to live more comfortably? A compelling reason for the move will be important, particularly if the other parent files a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) to prevent you from leaving with your child.

2. Have A Plan For The Child To Maintain A Relationship With The Other Parent

Texas family law is built around doing what is in the best interest of the child. In most cases, that means ensuring that the child maintains a relationship with both parents. If you want to move out of the country with your child, the onus is on you to facilitate continuing contact between your child and the parent left behind. Creative child custody arrangements will be necessary, involving regular phone calls and video conferences between your child and the other parent, and possibly flights back to Texas.

3. Give Proper Notice

The worst thing you can do is make the move without first notifying the other parent and following the proper steps. Not only could you end up jeopardizing your own relationship with your child, you could end up facing criminal charges of child abduction. Instead, make certain you communicate your intentions to the other parent well ahead of the move. It is possible that the other parent will contest the move. While this can lead to a stressful dispute, that is a far better option than being arrested, charged with a crime and possibly convicted and incarcerated.

4. Modify Child Custody Arrangements

Even if the other parent agrees to the move, make certain you modify child custody arrangements accordingly. First of all, this will protect you in the event that the other parent changes his or her mind. Second of all, in Texas, the law allows courts to include geographic restrictions in child custody orders. If you violate these restrictions, you could face serious repercussions. Instead, take the steps to have your child custody arrangements reflect the relocation and new visitation plans.

5. Get A Passport For Your Child

Be aware that the Department of State requires both parents to sign a child's passport application in order to prevent parental child kidnapping across international borders.

6. Learn About The Hague Convention

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a treaty that provides a mechanism for the return of children to their country of habitual residence. If you are moving out of the country with your child, you should understand how this treaty works to ensure you do not violate it.

7. Talk To A Family Law Attorney

These are delicate issues that involve many complex laws. A misstep can delay your relocation or, in the worst case scenario, lead to you facing criminal charges or other serious repercussions. At Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC, in San Antonio, we are well-versed in the rules set out in the Hague Convention, as well as the Texas Family Code. We are committed to guiding you through the process of relocating. We offer free consultations.

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At Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC, we have received a variety of honors and awards for our family law services. Members of our team have been listed as Top Lawyers in San Antonio Scene magazine. We take pride in the number of positive reviews we have received from satisfied clients. On AVVO, a lawyer rating website, we have received an 8.9 rating overall and many positive ratings from clients and colleagues.

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Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC
310 South St. Mary's Street
Suite 2500
San Antonio, TX 78205

Phone: 210-272-7034
Fax: 210-308-5669