Changing domicile after a divorce especially if the spouses have children is a legal matter that is very complicated. Divorce is a complex change process because from a family with both the parents under one roof with the children, it changes into the children being two different houses.
Joint Managing Conservatorship
The relationship of the divorce spouses with the children is commonly called as a Joint Managing Conservatorship. This is the presumed order when both spouses are still involved in their children’s lives while the divorce process is ongoing.
However, Texas law allows the deviation from this presumed relationship if one of the spouses can provide evidence to support why another option would serve the best interests of the children.
If the former spouses chose to have Joint Managing Conservatorship, they should come up with a parenting plan to make things easier for the children.
Parenting Plan: Residence of Child
The parenting plan would include where the main residence of the children would be. This plan can also put a limit on where the residence of the child may be moved, granting it is allowed.
An instance is when one of the spouse cannot pay for the current home, moving to a much more affordable residence may be required.
There is no need for the approval of the other parent or the court if the move will just be within the same area, city, county or school district.
In the event that the change in domicile is not within the same place as the last place of residence because of change in job location, for example, a plan that would have the children spending time with each of their parents in a weekly basis or a couple of times in a month would not be feasible. This plan will also be subject to the changes in the same Court which granted the divorce.
The parenting plan may include procedures like the other parent being given a proper notice and a mediation process allowing one of the parents to have an opportunity to agree on a new arrangement regarding residential custody before getting a modified Court order.
But even having the consent of the other parent, most of time, the permission of the Court that is approving the modification is still required and as well as a modified Court order.
The modification will be approved if the change is proven to be for the best interests of the children, as this is the legal standard required for approval. This assessment is a complex one especially if the change in residence will be out of state as there must be a clear and convincing evidence that needs to be proven to show to the court that the change in domicile will be good for each of the child’s best interests.
An example of a compelling argument that the spouse who wants to change domicile can provide is he or she will get a greater income in his or her new job or that the children are interested in activities like sports, music, drama or dance which the potential schools in the new place of domicile offer. These situations could assist a judge in deciding that the move would actually be in each child’s best interests.
However, if it is shown that each child is performing really well in their current school, has a good relationship in the community, and are engaged in extracurricular activities, then the move could have more of a negative effect on the child rather than positive. This is the evidence that the parent who is opposing the change in domicile that should present to Court to prove that the move is not in the best interests of the children.