My spouse moved out with the children without notice – what do I do now?


So, you’ve both decided to part ways and have to decide what decisions should be made about the children and who will move out of the family home. The question we hear far too often is, “Can he/she move with the children?”. The answer is yes, and, in this situation, it is best to seek legal representation immediately.

Moving children from their home and educational environment is a significant decision that can have lasting effects on their well-being. It’s crucial to be aware that when two parties are married or are legal parents of a child, they are both considered equal parents with equal rights until otherwise apportioned by the court. Unless there is a court order stating otherwise, either party can move with the children not only from the family home but to another city or state if they desire to. If you suspect that your partner is planning to make such a move, it is paramount to seek immediate intervention from the court. Many Texas counties offer procedures, even on an emergency basis, to restrain either party from relocating with a child until the court can hear the case and make a ruling that the Court finds is in the best interest of the child. Seeking legal representation before the move takes place is of utmost importance.

It is highly likely that the judge presiding over your case will not be happy if one of the parents moves to another state or location with the children without the consent of the other party. Judges generally prefer to maintain the status quo as much as possible at the beginning of a divorce or custody case. For instance, the District Court of Bexar County, Texas, has implemented a Standing Order available on their website. This Standing Order aims to keep things status quo once a divorce or suit affecting the parent-child relationship is filed. Many Texas counties have similar standing orders attached to petitions filed with the clerk and served upon the other party.

If a party relocates with the child and you delay in seeking legal intervention, it could be construed as you agreeing with the move. This might make it more challenging to persuade a court to order your partner to return with the child, as the court may be hesitant to uproot the child for a second time. Even if you agree with allowing your partner to move, it is advisable to find a lawyer to assist you in your request for conservatorship, possession, access, and child support as soon as possible. This ensures that you can maintain a positive relationship with your child despite any challenges that distance may bring.

Always bear in mind that it is better to seek as much legal information as you can if you are worried about the actions either of you may take or need to take once a divorce or custody action is filed. Being fully informed about how decisions made by either party can have both short- and long-term effects on a child is crucial.

If you’re facing a complex legal situation regarding divorce, custody, or parental rights, consider reaching out to Graham Family Law in San Antonio. Our experienced family law team can provide the guidance and support you need to navigate these challenging circumstances. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards securing the best interests of your child.

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