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Lower migration rates linked to child custody and divorce

Like other states, Texas has been marked by a pattern of migration as people move from one state to another in order to better their lives. Demographers have been puzzled about why the U.S. migration pattern has substantially declined in the last half-century. As compared to 50 years ago, only about half as many people today move from one state to another as they did then.

A University of Connecticut researcher believes that possible causes of the falling migration rates are divorce and child custody cases along with changing attitudes about children and divorce. When parents divorced in the past, judges almost always awarded the women full custody of the children. The fathers then might move to other states, seeing their children in the summers.

Judges today believe that children should have liberal contact with both parents in most cases. They are thus much likelier to order shared custody rather than awarding the mothers sole or primary custody. At the same time, the way in which fathers view their children has also changed, with fathers taking a much more active role in child rearing. Combined, these factors have made people remain in the same area so that they do not lose custody of their kids by moving out of state.

Divorced parents who need to move out of state with their children may still be able to do so, but they will first need to get the court's approval first. They may want to have legal assistance in filing a motion for parental relocation with the court that issued the child custody and visitation order.

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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