During a separation or a divorce, one parent may move out of the house, leaving the other parent with the responsibility of caring for the children. At a later date (during a custody hearing), though, the parent who moved out before divorce may wonder whether or not that move will hurt the chances of getting custody. If this situation sounds familiar to you, here’s what you need to know:

Texas’s Laws for Determining Child Custody 

The first thing that you should know is that the courts must adhere to the “best interests” standard. This standard means that the best interests of the child must be the primary factor in determining with whom the child will live.

When determining the best interests of the child, any history of domestic abuse or violence, special needs of the child and a private interview with the child — if above 12 years of age — will be considered. If parents have already agreed to a parenting plan, then the judge usually will accept it, assuming it meets the best interests standard. 

Will the fact that I moved out before divorce hurt my custody chances? 

If you moved out, this may or may not hurt your custody chances. Sometimes, moving out can be a signal to the courts that you believe that the other parent is an adequate choice for custody, assuming that you left your children with him or her. Usually, the home in which the children already live is a preferred custodial choice because moving to a new home, new school and acquiring new friends can be hard for a child whose parents are getting divorced. The fact that you moved out may not hurt your chances of custody if there is a glaring reason why the other parent should not be the sole custodial parent.

If you’re thinking about moving out, the best thing that you can do is to take your kids with you when moving. Then file as quickly as you can for temporary and primary custody. Doing so will demonstrate to the court that you’re serious about being the primary custodial parent.

A Texas Divorce Lawyer Can Help You File 

If you want to file a petition for custody of your child, the Texas Divorce Lawyers at The Law Office of Julie Johnson PLLC can help. Then when you’re ready, we can help you file for divorce and make your case for custody in front of the court. When it comes to your children and custody, you don’t have time to wait – contact us today at 214-265-7630.