Geographic Restrictions in Texas Divorces
In Texas divorces involving child custody, and in child custody cases and modifications, the court with jurisdiction over the case can order geographic restrictions on the residence of children. In most cases, geographic restrictions are limited to one county and the contiguous neighboring counties. In other examples, there may be a restriction set based on the distance from the child’s home city.
Geographic restrictions are not automatic and must be requested by one of the parties in the divorce or custody case. When requested, the court weighs the facts in the case and balances the best interests of the child factors to make a determination.
Listen to the audio player or watch the video.
Why People Call Mark L. Scroggins About Lifting Geographic Restrictions
In the podcast, Mark explains that the best and most valid argument to life geographic restrictions is a game-changing life-altering job opportunity in a different county or state. When a new job has the ability to change the life of the kids, it might be possible to have the geographic restriction lifted.
Sometimes people remarry and one of the parents becomes a stay-at-home parent and their new spouse gets an important job out-of-state. Regardless of which parent or party has a new job, to change geographic restrictions, the new position must be significant and not something available here in the DFW areas.
Mark explains that there are so many moving parts in modifying geographic restrictions. The big issue is what the court finds is in the best interest of the children. The court weighs many factors including the respective parent?s involvement, how the kids are doing, the age and needs of the kids’ needs, their ages, and how entrenched their lives are here.
This Psychology Today article, Moving to a New Town: The Impact on Kids, offers a few things to consider when relocation might be an option.
Can I Prevent My Spouse From Moving with the Kids?
Whether you can stop your spouse from moving with the kids depends on the reason. Why is the spouse moving? Is it post-divorce and they are getting remarried? Are they following a new spouse for a job? Do they want to move to get away from you? Are you involved in the kids? lives and seeing them often? Does your ex-spouse need the assistance of their new spouse and their job opportunities? As Mark raises all these questions it is easy to appreciate how many factors affect your ability to use geographic restrictions to prevent a spouse from moving with the children.
The overriding issue that trumps everything else is what is in the best interest of the kids. So just because a primary parent or their spouse gets a great new job, the best interests of the children must be satisfied first and foremost.
Mark uses the example of nursing jobs that may be readily available in the Dallas area. Where jobs of a similar kind and rate are plentiful, a similar job somewhere further away is not likely going to be a sufficient reason to prevent a spouse from moving.
Establishing Geographic Restrictions in Texas Divorces
Mark explains in the podcast that if parents are named joint managing conservators, typically there are geographic restrictions established in the divorce or custody case.
The primary domicile you have the exclusive right to establish must be located in Collin County, or the immediately surrounding contiguous counties, for example. So if you want to move, and your ex-spouse also still lives within that same geographic restriction, you need to go to court and file a modification case.
In a modification case, you need to prove to the court that it is in your children?s best interests to have the geographic restriction lifted so you can move wherever you want. As he explains in several examples, there are so many factors involved, that before you accept a new job you should talk to an experienced, Board-Certified family lawyer and know what you are up against and walk you through the process.
Jurisdiction Issues in Geographic Restrictions in Texas Divorces
The court that makes the initial child custody decision is called the court of continuing jurisdiction. The court of continuing jurisdiction keeps jurisdiction over any subsequent decision made involving the parties and children in the case.
However, if you moved from a different state into Texas, after six months the Texas court can establish jurisdiction over the kids as you transfer the previous case into the Texas court system. Mark explains that things can get challenging when you have only lived here for three or four months, and there are things going on that are problematic. He explains that the UCCJEA is used and the courts can determine which court should have jurisdiction over the parties and the situation. Or, the court can take emergency jurisdiction.
It is very important to hire the right lawyer who knows what they are doing with complex jurisdictional issues and the best interests of children.
Learn Your Rights and Options in Divorce and Custody Issues: Call Scroggins Law Group (214) 469-3100
If you have questions about jobs, children, geographic restrictions, and which court may have jurisdiction, call Scroggins Law Group and learn your rights and options. Mark L. Scroggins is Board-Certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
In a consultation at Scroggins Law Group, you will learn where you may stand and what you can expect in your original divorce, child custody, or modification case. We hope you found this podcast and video helpful.
Note that you can find this podcast located on our Scroggins Law Group Family Law Podcast channel on Blog Talk Radio with the title, Geographic Restrictions and Moving with Children in Texas Divorce.
*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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