In today’s world, people often change jobs, relocate and sometimes even move out of the country to take advantage of a better job opportunity. What happens when divorced couples face circumstances like these?
Courts look at each case individually when considering requests for modification. Under the Texas Family code §153.134, courts are able impose residency restrictions. A landmark case that the Texas Supreme Court ruled on in 2002, called Lenz v. Lenz significantly affected the way Texas judges rule on modification requests for relocation. The Texas Family Code requires courts to consider whether the parents’ situation has substantially changed since the original order and also whether modification would be a positive improvement for the child and in the child’s best interests.
In Lenz v. Lenz, the mother and father were both originally from Germany and moved to the United States when the father found a job here. They had two children, one was a U.S. citizen and one was a resident alien. Parents spoke German in the home, and raised the children with a strong emphasis on the German culture. After divorce, the mother became engaged to marry a man in Germany. In addition, she had extensive family on her and her ex-husband’s side living in Germany. The children had close relationships with their German relatives, had friends in Germany and would adapt well with a move. Also, the mother had trouble finding good employment in the United States and better job positions were available for her in Germany. The case eventually went to the Texas Supreme Court, and the court also considered whether the children would be able to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. They determined that the father could move to Germany and find a good position there or was able to visit frequently based on German business connections. The mother was lonely in the United States and would be more stable and happy in Germany, which would also have a positive effect on her children. The Supreme Courts ruled in favor of the mother’s relocation.
If your life’s circumstances change substantially, consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. Our attorneys at C.E. Borman & Associates can work closely to help you obtain necessary modifications.