Your life can change in the blink of an eye, and this is no less true after you've been through a family law case. Whether you have court orders from a divorce or Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR), your decisions moving forward have to be based around these court orders.
If you have a child, then it is likely that your ability to pick up and move has been curtailed to a great extent. While the court that issued the orders cannot put a geographic restriction on you (you are an adult, after all), there is likely a geographic restriction on where your child can reside.
After a divorce, if you find yourself as the primary conservator for your child, you are in a position where you can move wherever you would like. Still, your child likely won't be able to move beyond a particular geographic area. For example, in Harris County family law cases, the restriction is most commonly Harris County and many surrounding counties to Harris.
Seeing as how your child cannot move beyond a particular area, you would need to contact your ex-spouse to have them sign off and agree to your moving with your child to another location. You would file this agreement with the court to have it be a part of the record for your case.
In most cases, however, simply asking your ex-spouse for their blessing for you to move is not going to result in the outcome you are hoping for. In that case, you would need to file a modification case to have the judge approve your request to move beyond the geographic area permitted in your Divorce Decree.
Winning a modification case where you ask to move beyond the restricted geographic area
As with any modification case that is filed, you will need to show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that requires the move and that the move will be in your child's best interests. The tricky part about making this argument will be that you will be taking the child away from one of their parents. The State of Texas believes that it is in the best interests of every child in our state that they have a relationship with each of their parents, so yours will be an uphill climb as far as making such an argument.
Winning a modification case in which you ask the court to lift a geographic restriction means that you will also need to show the judge how you will help the other parent continue to enjoy a frequent and meaningful relationship with your child. As long as the possessory conservator of your child has not moved and has taken advantage of the time afforded to them in the visitation orders, you will have to put forth a compelling argument.
A former client's story on their attempt to lift a geographic restriction
Last year a client hired our office to lift a geographic restriction that had been in place since her divorce in 2012. The story was our client had gotten a divorce from her spouse in Houston and had continued to reside here after the divorce.
She subsequently met a man and married him shortly after her divorce. The man became ill and was diagnosed with cancer but was fortunate to receive treatment here at the Medical Center. After receiving extensive treatment, his doctors declared him to be cancer-free.
Once that cancer-free diagnosis was received, our client contacted us to see about lifting the geographic restriction that was in place, limiting her from residing in any county other than Harris and its adjoining counties. Her current husband was from Dallas, and she and he wanted to move there (with her three children) now that his chemotherapy and cancer treatment had been completed.
The main point of the case that I remember is that her husband was a licensed pilot. Their idea was to argue to the judge that her husband would see to it that all transportation costs would be borne by their family and that he would fly the children personally from Dallas to Houston every weekend that the ex-husband was ordered to have visitation.
While this was indeed a creative and ambitious plan, the judge felt that it was unreasonable to expect the children's step-father to be available to fly the children back and forth in a small plan three weekends per month to facilitate visitation.
The children's father had been a committed and diligent parent, and our client could not prove that it was in the best interest of the children to move them to Dallas. Though their solution was creative, the problem was too vast for even their creativity to solve.
What if you violate the geographic restriction in the Divorce Decree?
On the other hand, some parents will blatantly disregard a court order that geographically restricts where their child can reside after a divorce. As the child's primary conservator, you are responsible for providing a living environment conducive to your child's growing and maturing positively.
With this being said, if you decide to move beyond the borders of the geographically restricted area and do not seek permission from the other parent first, you are asking for an enforcement suit to be filed against you. The other parent to your child will assuredly ask the court to enforce the terms of the court orders.
All your efforts to move can be undone by one ruling from a judge, and you and your child will be forced to return to where you came from. It doesn't matter where you moved to, how difficult it will be to facilitate the move back or how much money it will cost.
Child Support to be discussed in tomorrow's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
As far as questions that I am asked by potential clients of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, child support ones typically top that list. If you are either facing a divorce or are in a position where you are interested in either increasing or decreasing the amount of child support you receive or pay, please come back to our website tomorrow to read more on this vital subject.
We will do our best to go through many of the issues surrounding child support so that you can learn as much as you can to be prepared for a current or upcoming family law case.
In the meantime, if you have questions about a family law topic, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. We have a team of licensed family law attorneys to meet with you six days a week in a free-of-charge consultation. We can discuss whatever questions you have and go over our office's services to clients across southeast Texas. Thank you for stopping by.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Child Custody Geographic Restrictions in Texas
- Geographic Restrictions in Child Visitation Orders in Texas
- The Dirty Trick of Moving Out of State with the Kids
- Can a Parent remove My Child from the state of Texas or from the County or Country where I am living?
- Children's Passports and International Travel after Texas Divorce
- Child Custody Basics for Texas Parents Revisited
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- Joint Managing Conservators in a Child Custody Case in Texas?
- Can I get sole custody of my kid in Texas?
- Sole Managing Conservator in a Child Custody Case in Texas?
- Texas Child Custody Modifications
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's essential to speak with a Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
Our 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 the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.