If there is no court order in place, there is nothing preventing your leaving. However, if the question is put in front of a judge or jury, you are very likely to be required to stay in the area where the other parent lives. Something to keep in mind, if there is no court order, and both parents are listed on the birth certificate, there is nothing to stop the other parent from taking the child and moving away from you, either. Generally, judges do not like parents that sneak off and leave the area without warning to the other parent, although I have known judges that had no problem with it.
If you are planning to leave with the children without warning, it would be a good idea for you to visit in depth with an attorney who regularly practices family law in your area. If you have a divorce decree or child custody order, this question has already been addressed. Look at the rights and duties listed near the front of the area. The section that states that you have “the right to designate the primary residence of the child” will either say “without regard to geographic location” or “within xxx”, for instance, within Harris and contiguous counties.
Does your divorce decree or child custody order already address this?
In most cases, if the other parent has moved out of the area, the order will contain a provision allowing you to move as well. If the order states that you have to stay in a given area, and the other parent is still in that area and you violate the order, you could be held in contempt of court. You could also lose the “right to designate the primary residence of the child”, meaning that the child could go to live with the other parent. Do you have a family law question that you would like to ask a Texas attorney? Post it in the comments section and it may be addressed in a future video.