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Moving for Work or Family: The Right to Determine a Child’s Primary Residence and Modification

Moving for Work or Family: The Right to Determine a Child?s Primary Residence and Modification

After a divorce or custody case, one parent may need to move for work or family and the other parent may not be able to accommodate the change as it affects parenting time with a child or any children of those parents. It may be necessary to return to court to modify the right to determine where the child is going to live. A court action to modify the right to determine a child’s primary residence can be agreeable or contested and litigated.

The Exclusive Right to Determine Primary Residence

The parent appointed as sole managing conservator of a child has the right to designate child’s primary residence unless both parents are joint managing conservators and one has the exclusive right to determine a child’s primary residence.

At all times the best interest of a child is the primary consideration by the court in determining issues involving conservatorship and possession and access. In divorce cases and suits affecting a parent and child’s relationship, the court appoints a sole managing conservator or both parents as joint managing conservators. Joint managing conservators creating a written parenting plan must include a designation of which conservator has the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the child, and identify the geographic area wherein the conservator will maintain the child’s primary residence.

What happens when of the parents must move for work or family?

Modification of the Exclusive Right to Determine Primary Residence

There are several reasons courts modify the order giving one conservator the exclusive right to determine a child’s residence within one year of the order for certain reasons, or when there is a burden of increased expenses to the other parent because of a change or residence, or where there is a conviction for child abuse, family violence or one of the parents is ordered to military deployment or mobilization.

Consider the first cause to modify an order regarding child residency determination within one year as an opportunity to right a wrong if there is a problem. For example, if the child’s present environment endangers their physical health or significantly impairs their emotional development, the order can be modified.

Also, the parent with the exclusive right to determine residence can ask the court to modify the order where modification can be established as being in the best interest of the child, or that parent with exclusive rights has relinquished primary care of and possession of the child to the other parent or another for at least six months.

Board-Certified in family law, Mark L. Scroggins, principal attorney at Scroggins Law Group, has more than 25 years of experience negotiating and litigating issues affecting parents and children. When something has happened, and your parenting plan and decree no longer work and need to be modified, you need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney and support staff to create a custom strategy and work to get you the results your family needs. Call Scroggins Law Group in Dallas at (214) 469-3100 if you need to modify an order regarding the right to determine a child’s primary residence.

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*Mark L. Scroggins is *board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Unless otherwise noted, other attorneys are not *board-certified.

**Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service, awarded to Mark Scroggins 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)

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