Who gets to decides where the child should live?
In most divorce or
child custody cases, the parents are named Joint Managing Conservators of the child. This
means that the parents will both have the rights duties of parenting.
It does not mean that the child will live with each parent for an equal
amount of time.
Generally one parent will be named the primary Joint Managing Conservator.
This parent will get to establish the residence of the child. The other
parent will havevisitation with the child.
Types of Geographic Restrictions
In most cases, a child custody order will include geographic restrictions
limiting where the parent with whom the child lives most of the time can move to.
Typical restrictions include:
- A mile radius from the other parent
- The county where the divorce occurred
- A specific city
- The county where the divorce occurred, plus surrounding or "contiguous" counties
- The State of Texas
The language you will find in most orders right before the Order restricting
the residence is “The Court finds that, in accordance with section
153.001 of the Texas Family Code, it is the public policy of Texas to
assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents
who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child, to
provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child, and
to encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child.
Harris County Texas and Contiguous Counties in Texas
The geographical restriction you will see in most visitation orders in
Harris and Montgomery Counties is will restrict the custodial parent to
live within the same county as the non-custodial parent or any of counties
that it borders or "contiguous counties." For example, "Harris
County and contiguous counties" This would include Harris county,
as well as Montgomery county to the north, Waller and Fort Bend counties
to the west, Liberty and Chambers counties to the east, as well as Galveston
and Brazoria counties to the south.
Changing the Geographic Restrictions
At times a parent may wish to an area not included in the geographic restriction,
and will seek to have the restriction removed or expanded.
In such a case a modification of the child custody order will be necessary
for the parents that wishes to relocate.
The parent wishing to modify the child custody order will need to put
on evidence that there has been “material and substantial change
in circumstances.” One example of a material and substantial change
might be a move. Factors that a court will consider include:
- Distance of a move
- Travel arrangements: if it is possible for the child to travel to see the
other parent, and if so, who will make the arrangements and pay for them
- Parental relationship with a child, and how this move will affect those
- The reason for the move (and the other parent’s reasons for challenging the move)
- Whether the other parent will still be able to enjoy meaningful access
to the child (for example, through instant messaging or video conferencing)
If you are considering moving outside of your geographic restrictions,
or your co-parent is planning on moving outside of their geographic restriction,
you should speak to one of our
Houston child custody lawyers immediately to help identify your options and a solution that would be
right for your family.
Remedies for Violations of the Geographic Restriction
If a parent
violates the geographic restriction, then one option for the other parent is to bring a
motion to enforce the
child custody order.
Often times the
motion to enforce include a request that the parent
violating the order be held in contempt of court for
violating a court order. Contempt carries monetary penalties and can result in incarceration of the
If you want to know more about what you can do,
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Spring, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children
and families. If you have questions regarding
divorce, it's important to speak with one of our
Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and
developing a strategy to meet those goals.
Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online
form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles
Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Klein,
The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including
Fort Bend County and