Thursday, March 20, 2008

residency restriction in texas

As I am sitting here listening to March Madness I thought of a few items that seem to be reoccurring themes in my family law practice. As a family law attorney you sometimes lose sight of the simple issues that people deal with daily. I will discuss a few of those ideas in the next few posts.

Today I wanted to offer a few tips on residency restrictions in Texas. A residency restriction is a court imposed limitation on where the CHILD can live. You notice that i said child. The Court cannot tell the adults where they can and cannot live, but they can limit the residence of the child. Obviously, if you are the parent with custody of the child and the court limits the residence of the child, then your residence has been effectively limited too.  Your option is to stay put or let the child live with the non-custodial parent.

The state legislature has said that they want to promote the relationship between the parent who does not have custody of the child and that child.  The way they accomplish this is by assuring that there is frequent contact, i.e. a residency restriction.

The Courts have determined that in Texas a residency restriction can be as large as the state or as small as a neighborhood or school district.  The size of the geographical area is within the court's discretion subject to the facts that they hear at trial.  In Collin County (Plano) and Dallas County the courts will typically impose the Dallas and contiguous counties (counties touching Dallas) or the Collin and contiguous counties language by default.  That can be changed with the proper facts.

There is one simple way to have a residency restriction put in place if you are not the one with custody of the child, and that is to stay active in the child's life.  I cannot tell you how many times I have seen cases where my client wants a residency restriction but has not been active in the child's life.  I think sometimes it is simply a control issue.  If you want a residency restriction in Texas, you need to show that you are active in the child's life.  That can mean simply exercising the visitation that you have been awarded or attending extracurricular activities.  Attend some parent-teacher conferences, take the child to the doctor occasionally. You get the point.

If you are active in the child's life then the court will protect your interests because that is the "policy" of the State of Texas.

The things listed above also apply to parents who want to remove the residency restriction in Texas.  If the parent without custody is active in the child's life, then chances are good that the court will not lift the restriction.  However, if there is not active involvement, and the parent wishing to move has a good reason, chances are good that the court will lift that residency restriction.

The moral to this story is simple, stay involved in your child's life or suffer the consequences when a parent wants to move out of state.

The information contained in this blog is provided for informational (and sometimes entertainment) purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. I can guarantee you that I am not covering every facet of the family code, and there may be hidden gems in the Family Code that could make or break your case based upon your specific fact situation. No recipients of content from this blog, retained client or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this blog without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice. ALL CASES ARE DIFFERENT BECAUSE OF THE FACTS PARTICULAR TO YOUR CASE; THEREFORE YOU NEED A LAWYER TO DISCUSS THOSE SPECIFIC FACTS.  I expressly disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the content of this blog. Talk to a lawyer first, preferably me, it is that simple! 

154 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have a question...my friend has been trying to get his divorce finalized for over a year..between shotty attorneys and a manipulative soon to be ex wife its dragged on forever. they have been living seperately for over 3 years. He and I respected the boundries of his situation and waited until just a few months ago to let it be known that he was seeing me. the soon ex wife is naturally having a fit...she claims she can call me an intereference and block me from interefering with their 6 yr old daughter. is this true and does colling county see it as that? they are suppose to finalize their divorce in one week. thanks

suzie said...

can my friends soon to be ex wife...put a "block" against me from spending time with their 6 yr old daughter under the premise of "interference" in Collin County? they have been living seperately for 3 yrs, we are very discreet, we dont even hold hands when we are iwth her. we have been seeing each other for over 2 yrs but we have just recently introduced me to friends and family in order to be sure i wasn't going to come in and out of their daughters life. can she cause trouble for my friend under this guise?

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Suzie, she will need a good reason to completely limit your contact. Maybe the court would order an overnight restriction. She would need a really good reason to limit ALL contact.

The Court understands that people move on in their lives after a divorce.

Good Luck.

Renee said...

I read this somewhere else "it is not a parent’s residence that is restricted, it is the child’s, and if they want to be the primary parent and have the exclusive right to determine the primary residence, their residence will necessarily be restricted too. However, if the other parent moves outside the restricted area, the restriction is lifted." Is the last sentence true?

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Renee, perhaps you read that in the post you just commented on :) Kidding.

Let's do a hypothetical: The final order limits the residency of the child to Collin and contiguous counties. Dad has custody of the child and lives in Plano. Mom lives in Dallas.

Mom decides to move to Oklahoma (obviously not of sound mind...smile).

The question asked is whether the residency restriction is now lifted for dad. The answer is no. The Court order simply states that there is a residency restriction. However, if Dad wanted to move, he would not have a hard time in convincing the court to lift the restriction. He would accomplish this by filing a request to modify the order.

Some courts, like Dallas County, have adopted language that states that the residency restriction only applies as long as the non-primary parent continues to reside in the limited area. If the non-primary parent moves out of that area (as in our example) then the residency restriction is lifted.

So, in our hypothetical, if the order had that language, then the residency restriction would disappear automatically without dad having to do anything.

Get it?

Bottom line, you cannot assume anything....you must read your order. The order always controls and tells you what you can and cannot do.

Anonymous said...

I did some research during my custody fight earlier this year, and spoke with my attorney about this exact issue. I wanted to be sure that my ex would not be able to restrict where i could live with the kids, so my attorney included a clause in the final orders stating that i had no geographical restriction, which my ex signed and the judge approved. My question is, given that both parties and the judge signed the orders, would it be possible for my ex to file a motion to modify if i decided to exercise my right to relocate with the kids out of state? The reason i ask you and not my attorney is because i got the distinct impression near the end of the custody case that she just wanted to just be done with the case, as it required her to travel 3 hours out of town to the court of continuing jurisdiction. My attorney assured me that i could just pack up and move if i so chose and he'd not be able to prevent it, i'd just like to get a second opinion.
thanks :)

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, would it be possible, yes. Would he prevail, I don't know.

The problem is that typically child related orders have a notice provision in which you are required to notice him a certain number days in advance of your move (typically 60).

If you comply with the order you give him plenty of time to file a petition to modify. If you do not comply with the order then you stand the chance of ticking off the court which could result in an unfavorable ruling.

I had the exact scenario you are in one time and the mother (with custody) moved out of state. However, her notice was a little underhanded, which made the court mad. The court did not require her to move back, but the judge was not happy with her and she was teetering on the edge of requiring her to move back. The moral of this story is that you need to abide by the orders as to notice in your change in residence. Always keep the "clean" hands.

Bottom line, he can file a lawsuit, and he can present all the stuff that I discussed, and he can ask that the court impose a residency restriction. You will have to defend that suit if he does. At that time you would obviously argue that this issue has been agreed upon and that nothing has changed since that agreement and therefore he should not be entitled to a modification.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

This is a comment / question. I just learned that Collin County, where my friend who is going through a divorce resides, has a residency restriction. She want to move out of the state with her daughter to be closer to her family and start her business. This state legistlative imposed rule, in my opinion, goes against her rights as a citizen. He soon-to-be-ex is riding this out just to torment her more so that be able to see their child. She has traveled since the seperation and he keeps asking her where she is going / has been, calling her out of town friends asking them questions instead of paying attention to the time that he is suppose to be spending with his daughter. With that said, can this rule be challenged in any way or is it set in stone?

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonyomus, playing devils advocate for the state I would argue that the legislature has not affected her constitutional rights one bit. She is free to move where she pleases. However, the courts and the legislature have determined that they CAN limit where the child lives.

The justify this with the presumption that it is in the child's best interest to have frequent contact with the non-custodial parent. To effect this came the residency restriction.

Can your friend contest this? Sure she can. She would have to provide the court with evidence that "rebuts" that presumption. It is really just a matter of evidence and what they judge feels is more important. It is not "set in stone".

Katie said...

Here is legal hair-splitting at its finest.

I am recently remarried. The residency restriction for my 7 year old states "Collin and contiguous counties." My new husband works in south Fort Worth.

We've been searching for a place to live that suits his workplace, my restrictions, and our budget, as well as having a good school district. We finally settled on the area of Justin/Roanoke, where most of the neighborhoods are in Denton county, and they go to Northwest ISD. We have found several homes in Lost Creek Ranch which are the size we need and fit our budget.

Here's the catch:

Lost Creek Ranch pays its taxes to Tarrant county appraisal district. Yet, the USPS website lists it as being in Denton county. Which judgment of location do we go with to determine whether we can move here or not?

Unfortunately my ex is somewhat unreasonable. He lives in far Southwest Plano, but still feels that this is 'way' too far a move, so if he can contest it, he will.

Thank you!

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Katie, that is a very interesting question. If it were me I would do a bit more research into exactly where the county line is. If the appraisal district has it in tarrant, find one that says it is in Denton (in addition to the postal map).

The point is, the more evidence you have that shows Denton, the better the likelihood that the court will not care and let it slide.

Where would the child's school be? Denton County?

Make sure that when you decide to move that you meet the notice requirements of your order.

Good luck.

Laura Essary said...

I know this is a few months old but hopefully you will still see it and be able to offer advice.

I am the primary custodian of my 3 year old son. His father and I have been fairly civil to each other our son's whole life. We were never married.

I have no idea what my custody agreement states. I plan to go get a new copy from the court house tomorrow but I don't think that there is a residency restriction because I live near Fort Hood and it would be sort of ridiculous to have had one because of the high possibility that I'd have married a soldier. However, my son's father believes there is one in place.

If there is a residency restriction, how would I go about lifting it? How long does it normally take (I am moving in a week and a half). Would I need a lawyer? If my son's father does not contest it (I am about 70% sure he won't) then would a notorized document from him, giving my son permission to leave the state, be enough protection for me to leave before getting the custody agreements modified.

If he does contest it, how likely would it be he win or how likely would it be for me to get the restriction lifted? He lives an hour and a half away yet only visits maybe once a month for a day, in my home. He has gone 2 and 3 months without a visit in the past. His excuse is that he is to busy with work. He rarely takes him from my home for the visits and has maybe taken him on 4 overnights in my son's entire life. Would you consider this active or not?

Last but not least, what would a typical out of state visitation schedule look like for a 4 year old? Who would have to pay for the visits? Do you know of any services where Airlines assist with children that young flying alone or would we have to travel with him?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and answer my questions. I appreciate it!

-Laura

P.S. If it matters, we both live in Texas. My husband lost his job and was only able to get one out of state. His works as a contractor that only deals with a certain military program that is only located in certain states. My husband would either have to start an entire new profession working for $12 -$15 an hour...or take a job out of state making $32 an hour. We don't really have much choice.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Laura, that is a big post. I'll do the best I can to answer all the questions.

To lift a residency restriction you would need to file a petition to modify the old order. Since you are moving quickly, you may go the notarized agreement route. If both of you sign it and have it notarized you could file that with the court that entered your order as an "agreement in writing, filed with the court" which is the language used now to lift residency restrictions.

That should be enough for you to move. After the move I suggest that you contact a lawyer in your town and get a second opinion on whether you need to modify the order or if the written agreement to modify the residency restriction will suffice. It is always best to get a local attorney because they are more familiar with the judges.

If you had to go to court, you could use all the arguments you laid out in your post on why you should be able to move and you could use the written agreement if you have one. What a judge will do with any of that information is hard to tell. Again, get a local lawyer to better answer those questions.

Do not forget to review your order for the notice requirements of moving and strictly adhere to those requirements. Nothing will get you in trouble faster that being "sneaky" and moving without proper notice.

As far as visitation for over 100 miles, it is typically one weekend per month of the dad's choosing. However, any agreements can be reached on those issues. The costs are typically paid by the person who moved, but again, any agreements can be reached.

I do not know about the airline regulations as far as age, you would need to check with them.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a father who has a daughter (6 yrs old to be 7 in Dec.) under Idaho jurisdiction. I hate to ask you to do a little research seeing how you are familiar with Texas law. However, I have read your responses and I clearly hope that you're willing and able to help. I've been divorced going on three yrs. I'm 26 yrs old and I have been very active in my daughter's life. I, after the divorce left the state of Idaho without informing the courts but my ex knew. There is a residency restriction that I cannot exceed 150mi radius without agreement between me and my ex wife.My daughter has lived with my ex for the past 3 1/2 yrs with recently 1 yr sharing joint legal and physical custody because I lived in the state of Idaho. She took our daughter in '04 during a planned trip between all of us to another state for a religious function in VA. I did nothing legally wise but visit while I resided in AK where we were living before Idaho. My ex did nothing but file for a divorce a year later, which prompted me to move from AK leaving family, school, and our church because she joined membership, and all though the divorce prevailed, we were supposed to work things out. I moved from Idaho due to financial hardship and relocated to VA to work for my father- still visiting our daughter in Idaho and after things flopped in VA between my father and I, I moved to WA where I still reside. Recently, I entered a modification of a decree in Dec. '08 requesting change for out of state visitation during a week long trip in ID with our daughter staying overnight in a hotel with my mother. Since then my ex got an attorney, I'm pro se because I just cannot afford one- esp. having to commute every few months to visit. Originally visitation was set at every other wknd/ one day per week if no agreement could be made. My ex has now entered a parenting plan for one wknd a month with supervised visitation if we're unagreeable- (the judge has said in an earlier hearing in Apr '08 that he doesn't like supervised visitation,) which I've never had a restraining order but they- my ex and her attorney claim I'm disparaging. I've been through an ITPC (evaluation- both ex and I) and the evaluator is even claiming as my ex that our child is too young and WA is so far- 1 hour by plane 8-10, 13hrs by car or bus. I've expressed that I would accompany our daughter during the travel to but my ex needs to assist with the return as our Divorce Decree states that the receiving parent is responsible for child pickup. Now my question... I have trial in two days and what in your opinion would be the chance that I would likely or unlikely get the favorable decision for the restriction to be lifted and get unrestrictive geograghical visitation for Passover, summer, every other Thanksgiving, and every other Christmas break as noted in my parenting plan? My family here in WA, AK, and VA hasn't seen our daughter since she was 1 1/2, I have a stable job with the state of WA, my child support is caught up, and I advocate communication and unity of my ex's house rules while with mom regularly. The school knows me and daycare from active participation, but I'm now being entitled "vacation dad" by the evaluator, my daughter doesn't know my family and talks to me briefly on the phone if I can talk to her. At times my ex wants to talk disparingly toward me about issues during my visitation before I get on the phone with our daughter which when it goes into argument status I don't even get to talk to my daughter and I've been coming for years. Something's gotta change, but will it? I know this seems like a lot but
I feel overwhelmed and I've prayed non-stop. Do you see light at the end of this tunnel? By the way, my ex has taken our daughter out-of-state from ID and there is no restriction against her movement with or without agreement. Your expedient response is greatly appreciated!

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Wow, that is a long post. I have to admit, I cannot make heads or tails out of your post. I think you are saying that you live in Washington and that you want long distance visitation with your daughter.

I believe you are asking me if you stand a chance? There is absolutely no way I can answer that question. I don't know anything about you, your ex or the judge that you will go before. In addition, I practice in Texas and have no idea what the laws are in Idaho.

The only advise I can give you is to get a lawyer. You seem, and say, you are overwhelmed. You need professional help from a lawyer. You need to borrow, take out a credit card or loan, or sell something, but you need assistance.

Sorry I could not be of more help. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Okay.....I hope that you can help. I have a daughter who will be four in july. I was divorced from her dad in Dec of 06. He remarried 11 days after the divorce for the women he cheated on me with....he was in the usmc till nov of 07. I re-married a marine and he is now stationed in MI. The father see's his daughter but only about half the time he is supposed to, he does not call her, his wife calls, picks up and drops off. He does not even call to tell me when he does not get her or that someone else will be getting her. He owes me $5000 in back child support and just recently stopped paying again. In Nov. he agreeded to let me move to MI with our daughter and my husband and we would work out visitations and I would reduce his childsupport....at last minute he backed out and has been putting off court and makin excuses to move the court date since Sept of 07 I have been in Tx for 10 months not living with my husband.......what are the chances of me getting to move and how would i go about it? I can't have a marriage not living with my husband and my daughter does not even want to be here.....she screams and cries everytime she has to go to her dad's house. He has money for two new houses in less than a year a new yukon, four wheeler, camper, and camping at the lake EVERY weekend and is going to adopt her oldest son but can not pay child support or get his daughter when he is supposed to. He went 9 months with out talking to her.....he was in Iraq and called her once in 9 months but called his wife 3-4 times a day everyday!!! I emailed him letting him know how she was and sent him pictures of her and he never once asked about her or how she was doing.......please help....what can I do

Kera said...

I have custody of my children and DO have residency restrictions (collin county and contiguous counties) but about a year ago I had to move out of the restrictions limitations due to financial reasons (lost my job and the father stopped paying his child support). I have relocated to Tyler, TX. My ex says that I can't do and is taking me back to court. My question is will the court make me move back within the restrictions? Considering he still has not paid any child support.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Kera, i cannot answer that question, only a judge can. However, I will say that your financial hardships along with the father's failure to pay child support will be very good evidence. More good evidence is that it appears that you have been there for a year or so. The longer amount of time he left you there the better.

Tell the court your financial hardships and also focus on the father's lack of involvement in the kids lives (if that is the case). An uninvolved father will not be able to maintain a residency restriction typically.

Good luck.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, you did not state anywhere in your post that you had a residency restriction and to where your residence was restricted. I assume you do because you are posting here. However, if you do not have one in your order, that changes everything.

If you do, you really need to get you a lawyer. I think you have a pretty good case from what you have told me. You will not be able to do it yourself though. You need to take him to court to modify the residency restriction in your current order.

Read my other recent posts as well, because they apply to you too.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I know this post is old but I am hoping you will see it and help answer a question. My husband and I are going through a divorce. He is very active in our childrens lives and will remain so. The only thing he wants is 50/50 custody and for him to have primary residence so I can't take the children and move out of state. Which he is afraid I will do someday. Our sons are 9 and 7.

I am not currently planning on moving out of state, but it could happen. I want to say ok to it, because I don't want a messy divorce, but wondering if I could have it changed later if I needed to. I know it would be up to a Judge, but would like to hear your thoughts.

Also, do you know if he would be required to pay child support? He says no, but I am not sure.

Thanks

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, if there is 50/50 custody there are two ways the court can handle it. They can call it even and not require anyone to pay support, or they can calculate what each party would pay for purposes of child support, and then take the difference. For instance, based upon your income, if you would normally pay $500 per month, and based upon his income he would normally pay $750 per month, then he would pay you $250 per month (750 -500).

I do not know why he would be named as the primary conservator. He can protect his interests with a simple residency restriction. By him being named the primary conservator he is technically getting custody of the kids. Seems to me a truly 50/50 would not have a designation of a primary and there would be a residency restriction put in place.

To answer the second part of your question, yes, you can ask the court to modify a residency restriction at any time when they are minors. However, if he is named as the primary conservator you would not be filing a lawsuit to simply modify the residency restriction, you would have to sue him for custody.

From the sounds of your post, I would be very careful. It sounds as if he is up to something. I strongly advise that you talk to a local attorney and see what they think. I would definitely advise that you have a lawyer review any papers that will be filed with the court or signed by the judge.

Good luck.

Jeremy said...

My fiance and I have just contracted a lawyer to get custody of her 2 children, ages 3 and 6. The ex-husband is the custodial parent right now unfortunately. This was simply a matter of happenstance in the beginning because he is still a military officer and has always had a kush 9-5 job. My now fiance at the time was also military as a nurse working nights, evenings and weekends. She unfortunately did not have representation during their divorce. Now we are finding out that she has been paying much more child support than necessary and there are no geographical restrictions on the children. We just filed for a venue change from El Paso to San Antonio a couple of weeks ago in order to start our case for full custody of the children. He had mentioned that there is a chance he will be changing stations to Maryland next spring. However, the six year old had brought several things to our attention that made us feel this would happen sooner than he told us. Well, in fact he just called yesterday saying that his orders had just changed last week (b.s.) and that he is leaving for Maryland with the kids on friday. He has not provided us with the 60 written notice as specified in the final divorce decree. The change of venue has not been completed yet. I am just wanting a second opinion as to what our next step should be. Can we go ahead and put a restraining order on the children before the change of venue is completed? How will this affect our case. As mentioned in a prior question/answer, we have always been involved above and beyond in the lives of the children. What can we do as far as putting geographical restrictions on them prior to the change of venue? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Jeremy, you really need to talk to your lawyer about this...that is what you pay him or her for. However, to answer your question, you may consider a lawyer in El Paso to get a restraining order prior to the transfer.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Desperately need help!!! I recently got a divorce, and he got an owelty lein on my house, and that statues are that if my house is not my primary residence, then I have to pay him what the lein is for. So I have a question....what does the court consider Primary residence? It doesn't say anything about me not being able to rent my house, but I will still get my mail there and the bills will still be in my name. And I am going to move, but stay in the same town. HElp....would I be ok, or what?

Anonymous said...

Hello,
Yea! I've finally found a site that gives specific information to people in Collin County. My sister's divorce has been final since December of 2007. The judge wrote in her final divorce decree that it is ordered and decreed that if her husband misses two periods of visitation during any calendar year that the geographic restriction "is lifted" in that exact language. The judge mentioned that he was trying something different on her case than he normally does due to lack of involvement by the father. I saw a similar post to mine and you mentioned that the restriction "disappears" in the hypothetical example you gave if the language appears this way. Do you think this is the same case for my sister? She is very afraid to leave the state and have charges pressed against her.

There's also a little catch. She did not recognize the language "is lifted" and assume its automaticity (if that's even a word) until after her lawyer had filed a motion to modify existing decree to have the restriction lifted. After the fact, we feel that the motion to modify was filed in error, as we do not want to change the language in the decree if indeed, it is permitting her to leave the state in the event he misses the visitations (which he has and he admitted to during the motion to modify trial). The motion to modify was denied due to lack of material and substantial changes in circumstance and we thought we had lost until my mother found the paragraph in the divorce decree about the restriction being lifted. Are we wrong to assume that this special provision is automatic and that my sister is now free to move? Also, since her ex husband has known since September of 2007 (her temporary hearing) what her address would be in the event that she did move, is she required to give the 60 notice?
thanks much

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, if you do not live in the house, then i do not think that the court will consider it your primary residence. A primary residence is typically where a person lives. You can still rent the house, but you may have to satisfy the lien...good luck.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, you are putting me in an awkward position. I am certain that you had an attorney at the modification hearing. I find it hard to believe that your lawyer and the judge missed that section of the order. It makes me think that there are facts that I am missing. Because of that I cannot answer your question, because I would need a lot more information.

Typically, In Texas, if a decree or order states that there is no residency restriction or that the residency restriction is lifted, then there is no restriction. That means that the person with the right to designate the primary residence of the child can determine the residence of the child without regard to geographic restrictions.

However, that same person would also be required to provide notice in accordance with the notice provision of the decree which typically requires the parent to notify the other parent sixty days before an intended move. How this notice is sent is set out in the order usually.

If the parent does all this, then they can move. If they do not provide the notice in the proper form they stand the chance of ticking off the judge and being required to move back.

It is always best to follow the decree to the letter. Playing games with the court's order can get you in trouble.

Good luck.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, you are putting me in an awkward position. I am certain that you had an attorney at the modification hearing. I find it hard to believe that your lawyer and the judge missed that section of the order. It makes me think that there are facts that I am missing. Because of that I cannot answer your question, because I would need a lot more information.

Typically, In Texas, if a decree or order states that there is no residency restriction or that the residency restriction is lifted, then there is no restriction. That means that the person with the right to designate the primary residence of the child can determine the residence of the child without regard to geographic restrictions.

However, that same person would also be required to provide notice in accordance with the notice provision of the decree which typically requires the parent to notify the other parent sixty days before an intended move. How this notice is sent is set out in the order usually.

If the parent does all this, then they can move. If they do not provide the notice in the proper form they stand the chance of ticking off the judge and being required to move back.

It is always best to follow the decree to the letter. Playing games with the court's order can get you in trouble.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I was divorced 7 years ago in Dallas County. At the time of the divorce I had a residency restriction which restricted me to Dallas County exclusively. The restriction became null IF the non-custodial parent moved outside of Dallas County.

3 years ago, he moved to Denton county. Therefore, I am under no residency restriction.

He is now threatening to take me back to court to have another restriction put in place if I try to move out of state. He currently still resides in Denton County, I reside in Collin county.

Any idea on the chances of Dallas putting a restriction BACK in place that he already broke?

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, it is impossible for me to answer your question without seeing the specific language of your decree.

If this were standard language in a standard order then I would say that he may have a pretty strong leg to stand on. The reason I say that is that he has remained in the metroplex and is relatively close to the child. The purpose of the public policy of the State of Texas is to promote a continuing relationship with the child. If he remains close, then the policy is still applicable.

What you are experiencing is the problem that I have found with the residency restriction. While you may not have a current residency restriction, I bet you still have notice requirements. If you provide that notice, per the order, then he most certainly would sue you to keep you here. Kind of a catch 22.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

what if the parent's were never actually married. So the attorney general assigned the custody. And i am not sure if the residency restriction is in there. I, the non custodial parent, am very involved, moved and stayed close to the child the 10 yrs of his life. The child has stayed with me for extended periods and months at a time and i still paid the custodial parent support during those times. The custodial parent lives in Collin Cnty, and i just had to move to Tarrant county for studies and work. The custodial parent now has someone they have only known for 3 months living with them and that parent is treatening to move very far away. Do I have a chance to modify the arrangement to receive custodial parent status, you think? There are other issues I think that the court could see the child is not being properly taken care of. Would there be a recommendation to retain a lawyer and proceed?

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, you definitely need to get a lawyer and proceed if they are threatening to move. To determine if you have a residency restriction you need to read your order. It will specifically state if the residency is restricted to a certain area.

If you do not have a copy of your order, you can get one from the courthouse that finalized your order.

As to the question of whether you can get custody or not, I have no idea. I would need a LOT more facts to make that determination.

However, understand that even if you do not request a modification as to custody, you can certainly request a modification to impose a residency restriction if there is not one.

Good luck!

Resa said...

Currently there is no geographical restriction in my court order. My daughter lives with me. My husband joined the Army earlier this year. He was given orders to go to Germany and when I informed my ex of where we’ll be moving, he said no and filed a petition to modify the possession and to restrict residence. We are not going to Germany because they changed my husband’s orders but we will have to move once he comes back next year from overseas. My daughter is 9 years old. Her father has only attended one game 4 years ago when she was a cheerleader, never attended any of her other activities, never taken advantage of his rights to have her on spring breaks, Christmas breaks, 30 days in summertime, her birthday, as well as never picking her up every Wednesday as stated in the court order. Our court date is next month. I do have an attorney and we do have a list of witnesses that would be able to testify that he hasn’t been involved in her life as he should have. I’m just wondering what are the odds that a judge will order a restriction? I’ve heard that judges usually won’t put a restriction on residence if it’s military related. Is that true?

Anonymous said...

Let me explain my family's position. My sister, who is mentally ill married a man she knew was mentally ill. They had a baby. Soon after my sister had an emotional breakdown/psychotic break and had to be hospitalized. Due to her husband's inability to care for my nephew, my mother stepped in a took care of him, which both my sister and her husband had been okay with. Then her husband changed his mind (while my sister was still in the hospital) and took the baby back from my mother and there was nothing she could legally do. I felt compelled to contact CPS as their home was filthy with dog feces, dirty bottles and diapers. So CPS gives my mother temporary custody while my sister and her husband try to work out thier issues. For the next year, they did their court-ordered sevices (classes, psych evals, etc.) but neither could maintaint a job or permanent housing (even with relatives). Her husband stopped taking his meds altogether. When my nephew was about 18 months, the court gave my mother primary conservatorship. Now here is where we are running into trouble...

My sister and her husband have since divorced and my sister has bounced from man to man, neither have paid child support for at least 6 months (he has never paid), neither has been able to maintain employment, and we are pretty sure neither are taking thier meds. My sister is obsessed with getting my nephew back right this instant, instead of focusing on getting healthy and then getting him back (which is what we had initially encouraged her to do). Its to the point where is constantly giving my mom ambiguous threats and harassing her (although not enough to press charges). Although we can't prove it, we think she reported my mother to CPS amongest other things. My mother can't afford an attorney and we've already tried with Legal Aid.... so now I'm trying to investigate what motions or procedures we need to do that can be done without a lawyer... any advice?? I suppose the main things I want to know about are: 1) Since my mother has primary conservatorship, can my sister "bully" her by making demands to know where her son is at all times, what day care he goes to, and when he gets hair cuts? 2) If my sister is the one canceling visits can she hold that against my mother in court? 3)What steps does my mother need to take in making my sister and her husband pay child support and getting my sister to back off? 4)What steps would my mother need to take to move back to home (out of state) from Collin County?

Thanks.

shannon said...

Here is my question and please help. I just got served papers. My ex has now filed for custody of our 15 yr old Son. Our Son refused to get on a plane and go visit Dad for Thanksgiving. His Father was informed and cancelled the flight, hense never went to the airport, but claims I am in contempt even though the flight was cancelled. Ok, the kicker, I was served Friday the 29th, and the paperwork has a court date of December 5. I live in Alaska, so obviously the court date will have to be moved. The Father is Military and has been reassigned to KY with a report date of December 10. Therefore neither party will still be residing in TX. My Son claims Alaska as his resident. So, I am simply seeing this simply as harrassment and a way to get me to spend money out of pocket ( ATTY fees, round trip air for 4, and my husband is serving in Iraq and can not be here for emotional support etc.). My question is after the date gets pushed is it possible to get this dismissed giving that neither party resides in TX?

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Shannon, I really do not have enough info to answer your question. However, it sounds as if ultimately your case should be transferred to Alaska. However, I cannot tell what you need to do without all the facts of where the original case was, etc...

If you want a little more precise legal advise you can by advise for $35 here https://www.clientspace.org/index.asp?firm=93B54BB1.

Good luck.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Resa, come on. You know I cannot answer that question. Those types of decisions are specific to the judge themselves. There is no way I could predict what your judge or any other judge would do without being fully involved in the case.

Shouldn't you be talking to your attorney about this?

Cheating on your attorney. Naughty.

Anonymous said...

I have a question about the geographical restriction and how if I moved out of the county first I have to pick my daughter up from him (i can not do this by the way).

When my divorce was final, my ex and i both lived in Collin County, the final decree listed his address in Rockwall, a rent house he had been living at(he forgot to change it). My attorney at the time said that I wouldn't have to worry about it since he put the wrong address, that it shows us NOT living in the same county. I think it's simply a technicality. If I move out of the county first, what will happen? Will picking her up from him on Sunday apply, or is the attorney right?

Incase you are wondering, this attorney told me several things that would and would not happen and they didnt pan out, so I do not believe much of what he says at this point.

Thanks,
Rachel

Anonymous said...

I currently reside in Texas. I have joint custody with my ex husband concerning my two eldest daughters. In addition, I have been remarried for two years. About two years ago I had my ex file suit for reinstating visitation rights, which stemmed from me not allowing him to visit the girls except at my home and the visits in my home could be for any amount of time. The reason for this, as the courts agreed, stemmed from the fact my oldest daughter was abused by her grandmother, my ex's mother. The modification was granted on the basis my ex signed an agreement with my attorney, a mediator, and his attorney, stating he would not allow his mother to see the kids.
The trial against his mother begins in January.
In the modification I was requested to allow a geographical restriction to Harris and montgomery county. I, not anticipating a move or need to move, agreed. Not long after the modification was signed my ex moved to Fort Worth, Tarrant County. He lived there for 6 months or so and them moved back here. Would that move make the geographical restriction lifted?

Our move is going to take us to Pennsylvania. I am going to attend Penn state for my Master's degree, and in addition I will be closer to the Philadelphia FBI office where I plan on working. My husband has a job linned up in Philadelphia which will allow for a better life for us all. If the geographical restrictions were lifted by the move do I still have to provide 60 days notice? My ex did not state he was moving until he had already been living there. In addition, he travels alot so he does not use th visitation schedule. There can be months that go by without a visit.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous number one...while it is a technicality, it seems reality would be that if you knew he had moved then you had notice. What it really boils down to is what happens if you move. Ultimately it seems a lawsuit will result.

Let's say you do move. Then the transfer of the child occurs and he expects you to deliver the child to him, and you do not. Result, a lawsuit over the transfer provision. Even if you win, you lose because of the cost.

You are in a real grey area, basically splitting hairs. I could argue one side as well as the other.

Sorry I could not be of more help. If its something that needs to be resolved in Court, I would be happy to help out if i could. Just visit my website www.chrislawyer.com.

Good luck.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous two - I cannot answer that questions without seeing your order. What does your order say happens if he moves? Does it even address it?

If it does, then you have your answer, technically. If it does not, then I think you need to file a lawsuit.

Either way, I think the best course of action is to file a lawsuit requesting that the residency restriction be lifted. Your evidence would be his move, his lack of contact on a regular basis, and the possibilities if you are allowed to move.

Doing it any other way will just cause more hear ache and trouble.

Let's say you move outside of the residency restriction, regardless of whether you can or can't per the order. Ex gets ticked and files a lawsuit. Now you have to defend a lawsuit from Pennsylvania.

You could try giving him the proper 60 day notice and see what happens. If he ignores it, then perhaps that is a good thing. If he files a lawsuit, then you are in the lawsuit you needed to file anyway.

Bottom line, I always recommend doing the right thing and not trying to be tricky. Just file a lawsuit and do it the right way.

Good luck.

Glenn said...

I have a question about my Agreed Order in Suit to Modify and a Rule 11 Agreement.

The Rule 11 is dated March 20, 2007 and was signed by me, childerns dad, and our attorney's. The Modification was signed by all parties, including the judge and filed on April 25, 2007.

The Rule 11 states, The children's residence will be resticted to Dallas County unless modified by written agreement of the parties or further court order.

The Modification states, I have the exclusive right to choose the children's residence in Dallas County and contiguous counties each year I have them and vis versa for their dad on the year's he has them.

I was wondering if the Rule 11 agreement takes presidence over the modification or if the modification has the final say and since it was signed by the judge and recorded with the county, that I go by the language in the modificaiton which grants me the choice to move out of Dallas County. Im looking to move to Collin County and dont want to have to file an additional modification if the one I have currently is the one I should be going by and not what the Rule 11 Agreement reads, seeing how it was never filled with the courts.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Assuming that all this was in the same lawsuit, a final order will replace all orders or agreements that directly conflict with the new order.

meingotti said...

Question and answer, I hope :) I am the primary custodial parent of my son. My ex and I used the statutory visitation when we divorced. (Alternating wknd/holiday/ 6-8 wk day visitation etc.)Since that date our son has started school so I have allowed his father more overnight access to him so that he has a chance to take our son to school and be involved in THAT part of his. Now that my ex has gotten remarried he wants modify our original order asking for two overnights a week, basically splitting the week in half. I think it is so unstable to split the week. Since he granted me full custody in the divorce, can't we just keep it that way? We have a residency restriction already which I've complied with I just don't want to have a 50/50 split or be "forced" into a modification. Please help.

johnfromlivingston said...

Chris, I have been going through a rough time with my Divorce. I filed for my Divorce back in November of 2008, and since then had came to an agreement, but it was never singed or proved up. The Problem that I am facing now is that we filed our Taxes Jointly, and she took all the Money for it, I am sure that I am entitled to half of those back. The other issue is that she used the money to move over 300 miles away, and she did not notify me nor the court, however because we were tentative that we had an agreement we did not ask for Temporary orders. So My question is what can I do about it at this point. (The Moving) BTW there were no geographycal orders yet in place being that we waived temporary orders due to thinking we had an agreement. This is in Texas

Jessica said...

Hi, I have (what I think is) a relatively simple question.

I am a custodial parent with a custody order in Tarrant County. Of course I have that wonderful geographic restriction and I'm thinking that I pretty much just hit the jackpot. My ex joined the military! Complete shock to me when I got a letter from the AG notifying me of the new employer. (He hasn't come around in 1 1/2 years & the last time he did, kidnapped my son for over a month!) So I need to know if this lifts the restriction, or is there some technicality that will shatter my dreams...

Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

my ex is not one to read his papers and we often fight about custody because he doesnt know what his papers say. he didnt give me the notice by april 1st of what he wants for summer so gets all of july(my sons b-day is the 6th so that sucks), my son hates going there and doesnt understand why he has to, is there any way to make my ex break up his time since he always lets other people exercise his rights anyway(in 9 months he picked up 3x...his step dad always does it). he doesnt want our son...just takes him to hurt me.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Meingotti, you do not have to go to a 50/50 arrangement. In order for your ex to prevail he will have to prove a material and substantial change in circumstance.

I'm not clear if the overnight were the nights he otherwise had the child, but your reaching various agreements should not be enough to modify to 50/50.

Remember, it has to be in the best interest of the child.

Good luck.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Johnfromlivingston, you need to get a lawyer. That simple.

Good luck.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Jessica, that is a really good question. One i cannot answer. I would have to see your decree to properly advise you.

However, in military situations, the Texas Family Code allows a person in the military to continue to claim their home state and address as their residence. For instance if he were married, moved off in the military, but wanted a divorce, he could file here because he is in the military.

How that applies to the residency restriction I am not sure. If he is not around, you need to just file a modification suit to remove the restriction. That is the safest way to do it.

If he does not respond, the court will enter the order most likely based upon the things you have told me.

Good luck.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, the short answer is no you cannot make him break it up without the court being involved. You would have to file a motion to modify the visitation.

Sorry.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I GOT A DIVORCE IN TEXAS IN DECEMBER. MY EX SIGNED THE PAPERS I DID NOT HAVE GEOGRAPHICAL RESTERICTION. I HAVE SINCE MOVED TO CALIFORNIA. I HAVE NOW BEEN SERVED HE IS TRYING TO HAVE MY PAPERS MODIFIED TO GET ME TO MOVE BACK. I HAVE PROOF THAT HE HARRASED ME OVER AND OVER AGAIN, I HAVE POLICE REPORTS, AND EMPLOYERS AS WITNESSES. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES I WOULD BE MADE TO MOVE BACK?

Anonymous said...

I have questions about divorce involving domestic violence. My husband assaulted me & my step father on May 5th then filed for D.V. on the 11th, i was un aware & filed for suit affection parent child relationship on the 12th. I have 3 police report over the past 2 yrs including this last time proving domestic violence. In Oct. 08' my husband was also issued a citation for assault on me. My husband & I are both asking for custody, i have our son & I also have custody of a child from my 1st marriage. BOTH kids are with me... I also want to move back home to CA where i am from & my WHOLE family lives. I only stuck around so my daughter could finish out the last 3 weeks of school otherwise i would have just appeared by phone in court. My husband IS asking for a geographical restriction of course but he is facing criminal assault charges for assaulting me & my step dad. Also, he is currently on probation for a DWI he was convicted of in Jan 09'. So more than likley he is going to jail for violation of his probation & 2 counts of assault. We both filed our stuff pro se. What can i do??

Anonymous said...

My daughter has received a verbal approval by her ex to move over 250miles away.

He will only give her the approval verbally because someday when their kids are grown and they ask him why he didn't see them, he can blame it on her. He doesn't want anything in writing that she could show the kids.

She has the verbal agreement on tape, is the tape admissable in court if he goes back on his word and causes problems after she has moved. He is aware that he conversation with her was taped.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Yes, the tape would be admissible and should be enough to reflect their agreement.

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

In the final divorce decree it states that my kids are only allowed to live in 2 different counties. I have recently found out that my Ex and her boyfriend are expecting a baby and plans of getting married are to be soon however my concern is that he has just recently enlisted in military basic training and all of the bases within the state are no where near the geographical restriction that we both signed off on not to mention that he might not even be stationed in TX. Is there a chance that she can take me back to court and a judge will grant her premission to move with my kids outside the geographical restriction without my consent? I pay CS on time and never missed a payment, I give extra money for clothes, sports, school supplies and practice my regular visitation rights as well ask for more time with them. I call every day, I even set up a skype account so that I could video chat with them when their mother allows it. Should I be worried??

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, she can absolutely ask the court to move. Should you be worried? I don't know. A lot depends on the judge that hears the case and the specific facts.

Keep doing what you are doing and try to be involved in your children's lives as much as possible. Also, remember to make sure she does not try to move without seeking approval from the Court. Contact a local attorney and have someone picked out just in case you need them.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I understand why the "Geographical Restriction" is apparently in the best interest of the child.
It's also very frustrating why I cannot move simply 3 hours away to a County on the other side of the county that neighbors where I live presently.
Sometimes it seems as if this "Geographical Restriction" causes a depression in the Primary Conservator because he/she is "stuck" in a small town, with little economical advances, 1 school district, 2 grocery stores, and absolutely NO enjoyable, therapuetic activities for young, middle, and especially adolescent children. Correct me if I am wrong, as a mental health care professional- a child living with a depressed parent, usually ends up with a type of mental health disorder and/or ineffective coping skills. True the depression should not be around the child, but it could be so easily treated with a reasonable and considerate plan.
Why must we as struggling single parents who want to create a safe, and HAPPY enviornment for our child/children, be restricted to live in the same or contiguous county as our bitter ex husbands and wives (as well as their bitter husbands and wives) because they do not want to see you and the child/children advance in success because they have left no room for opportunities in their lives? Or because you worked very hard to obtain a degree and education to support your child and their well-being and they do not have one?
Pathetically immortal and unjust?
I think so.
Now with all personal feelings put aside, what exactly can make a "Geographical Restiriction" a reasonable situation in the best interest of the child when the "Joint Managing Conservatorship" is consistently inconsiderate for one another?
It's very difficult to work with someone who is very tediously and objectively trying to defamate the other parent's character for satisfaction and a wealthy child support check.

Anonymous said...

My husband wants my geographical restriction to be Denton County. I would be much more comfortable with the State of Texas. Is it worth hiring an attorney to fight it out? I mean, what are my chances of having this granted? If so, what factors determine this - judge's mood that day?? Before this issue, we were having an uncontested divorce.

Meribeth said...

My divorce is resided over in Ft Bend County. I am actively pursuing the best lawyer for my interest, but I was hoping you could provide preliminary advice. I am under a geographic restriction that I wold like lifted to move to St. Louis (our previous residence when married). Our youngest daughter was recently diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that requires extensive medical oversight. While together and since divorced we have always agreed to take her to St Louis for treatment. However, he is refusing to allow me to physically move. He is an airline pilot so travel for him and the girls - which occurs every two to three months - cost less than $100 for all three of them, travel for me has huge financial implications. In addition, I am concerned about emergency care that could not be found in our area. Do I have a case to fight him - it will end up in court. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I have a cousin who was (is) paying child support. He as of 4 weeks ago now has the 2 children. The ex gave him the child support card but has direct withdraw on it for her GYM MEMBERSHIP! Is that against regulations? I always thought the money was for the kids not the mother. So now the money he paid in has still been spent to better the mom and he has the Kids...Please, I cant find any answers to this anywhere.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Meribeth, yes you have a case. Make sure you get a lawyer.

Good luck.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous in Denton County, a geographical restriction to a specific county in Texas is so that the non-custodial parent can have frequent access to the child. If you live in South Padre and he lives in Denton, that is hardly promoting frequent access.

That is not to say that you cannot get a restriction to Texas, you can get it by agreement, or a court may even order it given the correct factual scenario.

Good luck.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

If he has the children, he needs to modify the current order to stop his current child support and perhaps get her to pay support.

You bring up a good point about child support going to other items. A parent can spend the child support however they like, the reason being that other funds are being spent on the children. Money from some source is paying rent, electricity, etc... How she chose to spend the funds that she received, from whatever source, is up to her.

Have your cousin contact an attorney for assistance.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Geographic restrictions are why women should pay $500 for a vial of "stuff" rather than sleep with a man.

I traveled in communist Eastern Europe and this restriction on where one can live is very close to totalitarianism.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, the restriction is not on where the parents live. They can live anywhere they like. It is the children who are restricted to be close to the non-custodial parent. At least that is what the legislature would tell you.

mom123 said...

I have a question . Is there a law in texas that under certin cercumstances, If I have my 3 children with me in a studio aprtment for like 3 weeks would a judge take my kids from me and give dad custody even if it was very temporary?Our house was forclosed on the land lord of whom we were renting from and this studio apartment was donated by a friend for a month to help us get back on our feet. help with this would be great Thank you.

ptr said...

Question:
Divorced in Nov 2006 in Harris County and geographical restrictions were placed on my ex-wife to Harris County and surrounding counties. I was extremely active in my daughters life until my ex stopped letting me see her. Domestic Relations and I filed suit and she had to appear in court and fined for not allowing me my visitations. (standard possession order)
In June of this year, 2009, she packed up and moved to Michigan without my consent of the Judges consent. I've not seen my daughter since, even though i went to Michigan on my regular weekend, but was unable to see her. I only get to talk to her about 5 minutes a month if that. I petitioned the AG office to have my child support reduced from the current $1k monthly to something more reasonable based on current earnings and the cost involved with attempting to go to Michigan and visit my daughter and they have indicated that they won't change. What are my options to get my ex-wife to allow my visitations and/or reduce my support?
I've spoken with private attorneys and they have all asked for a 3-5k retainer to get the process going. Don't have that kind of spare cash around...thoughts? My daughter is 10 and I still live in the Harris County area.
ptr

Anonymous said...

Chris, you said in your post that one way to maintain a geographical restriction is to stay active in your child's life well, I'm here to tell you, that's not the case in Guadalue County, Texas. I'm a joint managing conservator or my children and even though my ex-wife is the "custodial" parent, I proved in Court that the children spent more than half the time with me, I testified confidently that I had been to EVERY significant even in their life since the divorce, and showed that I had a daily relationship with them. The judge still allowed my ex-wife to take my children and live 5 hours away with them. SHe claimed that she had been searching for a teaching position for 2 years within the geographical restrictions and I brought public information requests from all the school districts surrounding her residence that showed that she had NEVER applied to them for a job. Still, she got the restriction lifted. So, by no fault of my own, without me doing anything but be a good father, never missed a child support payment PLUS i paid for their daycare, my children were taken away from me and I'm helpless to having the court make my kids another statistic.

Anonymous said...

I live in Houston and I have custody of my daughter. My ex-husband moved to another state 4 months ago, lifting the geographical restriction. I want to move back to my home state but will not be able to do so for about 6 months because the house we will live in is being built, I have to sell our house here in Texas and I would like my daughter to be able to finish her school year. If he moves back to Houston during that time or after I give him 60 days notice of my move can he prevent me from moving? Thank you.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, that is an excellent question and I honestly don't know the answer.

If I were to have to argue the issue however, I would argue that once he moved the Texas residency restriction was lifted. In order to put a new one in place, he would have to ask the court to impose another restriction.

I think the important thing for you determine is the exact reading of your order. If is says that it is lifted if he moves, then I think my argument above is good. If it does not, and you are just assuming that it is lifted, then you may be the one to have to petition the court to modify its order if he were to move back.

Talk to a local lawyer and get their opinion.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr. Schmiedeke,

Thank you for your post and the information that you share freely! My ex and I had an agreed divorce a few years ago with a residency restriction limiting us to Tarrant and contiguous counties.

I live in Tarrant County now and he lives in one of the contiguous ones but is trying to modify our custody agreement to restrict me (ok, technically the child) to live in her current school district from now until graduation. The father is and has been active in the child's life. I'm not trying to change that, I just don't want to be subjected to such a strict restriction. Any suggestions on how to try to fight this without angering the court, making myself look like I want to move the child from place to place, or want to make it difficult for him to see the kid?

Thanks,
Jennifer

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, remember that it is his burden to prove there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances since you reached the agreements. If you are in the same place as you were (or still in Tarrant County) then what has changed? He has to prove something changed.

Call a lawyer in your area and get a free consultation so that they can hear all the facts.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I blended our families just about a year ago. He has custody of his four children, (exwife had some "questionable" behaviors toward the children) and I have custody of my three. We have all but one of his children living with us. She made up her mind to punish everyone because she wanted to live with her mother, so for the good of the others we agreed to let her live with her mother. My dad has begun having some real health issues, and my husband wants to move to my home town in Michigan to help him. (I don't like it there, but I'll go if we have to.) The kids, all 6 that live with us still, love the part of Michigan, and have made friends there. The youngest of his children is undecided. He's 12, and would love to live there, but doesn't want to leave the area his mom lives in. He's young enough that her "questionable" behavior of the past is still a HUGE concern to us. (Questionable meaning sexual, but Bell county concluded she didn't mean any harm). Anyway, we his decree limits him to the school district. As part of the agreement between us to let the one daughter live with her mother, we can move up to 50 miles away from this town. We made this agreement before we knew my dad was deteriorating. Now, notes about the towns: We wanted to move away from this city to a smaller town because the city we live in is rife with gangs, domestic violence, racism, drugs, and any number of problems common to cities that are overcrowded and don't have enough jobs to go around. My husband is disabled from the war, and we are not tied to a job; between his SSD, and VA Disability, we can live where we want. The town we want to move to where my folks live is less than 5,000 people, and its a small community where people look out for each other. Random violence is limited to the occasional bar fight, and there isn't anything like the drug or violent crime problem there, that there is here. We had felt like a place like that was where we wanted to move with the kids anyway. It just happened that my dad had a problem with his heart and lungs this past fall that has weakened him a lot. So anyway, we want to try and get the geographic restriction lifted, and are willing to go way beyond what the SOP prescribes for visitation and helping pay for transportation. What do you suppose our chances are?

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, unfortunately that is impossible to say. There are too many factors that are unknown to offer any kind of prediction.

My best advise is that you talk to an attorney in your area and see what they say. They will better know the judges in the area and what they are looking for to lift the residency restriction.

Good luck.

christina said...

Ok I have been restricted to Lubbock and Taylor counties, but I am now involved with a man I have known for 20 years and want to move to Illinois so that we can get engaged and married. I have contacted my atty that worked my case, but haven't heard anything. I want to know what I might have to do to be able to move out of state? Thank you -Christina

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Christina, you really need to speak to your lawyer about these issues. They are aware of the facts of your case and would be better able to describe the judge's policies and what you would need to prove to be successful.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Question. A friend of mine lives in Dallas Co. Had no residence restriction when the final decree was signed in 2007. Mom is primary and lived in dallas co. Ex lived in Hunt Co, but since then has moved 3-4 times in and around dallas co. Ex never took the wednesday night visitiations, nor the whole month of july. just the 1st, 3dr, 5th weekends. 2 years ago, he was accused of sexually assaulting a sibling of the child in this case. Mom filed for a motion to modify, and the dallas court placed the "standing orders" in place pending the modification, also, restricted Ex's visitations or only 6 hrs sat's and sun's of his weekends, supervised, ect. this past fall was arrested on the assault charges, and part of his bond agreement is no contact with the child. So... for 7 months now, he has had no contact. he's currently about $1,000 behind in child support.

Mom now has an opportunity to move from a cramped 2 bedroom apartment to a 4 bedroom house in Killeen. Exemplary schools, better home, better community.

Would the court really hold the standing orders in place over this kind of move? Ex has never gone to any extra corricular stuff with the child, no dr visits in over 2 yrs...

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, your friend needs to petition the court to remove that provision. If the facts you relate to me are true, then she should not have a hard time removing the restriction.

If you like my blog, you can subscribe to my new blog at www.TheDallasDivorceBlog.com through the RSS feed at the bottom.

Donna said...

My ex husband and I finalized our divorce 2 months ago in Williamson county. The decree states that my geographical restrictions will be lifted when our youngest daughter turns 3, but that I agreed to pay for him to see them once a month if I move more than 100 miles away.
Now he is challenging me that he will fight me if I try to move then, and his parents also said they will fight me. What can I do? My family all lives in GA, and I am only here because of my ex. Also I divorced him because of domestic violence.

Anonymous said...

My ex and I divorced in April 2008, after a 3 year battle. The final decree states we have joint custody and the children are restricted to Tarrant County. Because of my ex’s erratic lifestyle (dodging bad debts and scorned women), he refuses to provide us with his permanent address, or copies of W2s, per the decree. He is pretty much up to date on child support, but I have over $3000 in unpaid medical support on the children. Recently, he has let the children's insurance lapse without notice to me, which means I have even more debts.
I realize my restriction is not automatically lifted because he moved, but due to a harsh economy and unemployment, I am under a financial hardship and will be moving to Harris County to live with my brother temporarily (the 60 day notice applies to the court clerk if the address is known). I had expectations to secure a job here in Tarrant County, but my ex and his daughter from a previous marriage caused trouble with the employer and my job was given to another individual. My kids and I are unhappy here, due to the ramifications of my ex’s numerous affairs, including my kid’s teachers and our neighbors, and we experienced a burglary 6 months ago that wiped us out. We need to begin again somewhere new. My ex has not been an active father, seeing my kids only 8 times in 2009, for less than 24 hour periods each time, and has presently not seen them in over 6 months. I have never kept him from accessing the children, merely requested that he stick to the guidelines in the decree.
I would like to have my residency restriction completely removed, but have been told by an attorney-to-be that the courts do not want to lose jurisdiction over my children, and will keep them in Texas. I want to move on with my life, which may include moving out of state, and even periodically out of the country for work. I have also been courting a man living overseas, who wants to facilitate a relationship with my children, but their father has refused to consent to applying for new passports (the passport language was completely removed in my decree). He is being vindictive against me and not looking at the children’s best interest. Can I get a modification for residency restriction and passport application?

Anonymous said...

My ex and I divorced in April 2008, after a 3 year battle. The final decree states we have joint custody and the children are restricted to Tarrant County. Because of my ex’s erratic lifestyle (dodging bad debts and scorned women), he refuses to provide us with his permanent address, or copies of W2s, per the decree. He is pretty much up to date on child support, but I have over $3000 in unpaid medical support on the children. Recently, he has let the children's insurance lapse without notice to me, which means I have even more debts.
I realize my restriction is not automatically lifted because he moved, but due to a harsh economy and unemployment, I am under a financial hardship and will be moving to Harris County to live with my brother temporarily (the 60 day notice applies to the court clerk if the address is known). I had expectations to secure a job here in Tarrant County, but my ex and his daughter from a previous marriage caused trouble with the employer and my job was given to another individual. My kids and I are unhappy here, due to the ramifications of my ex’s numerous affairs, including my kid’s teachers and our neighbors, and we experienced a burglary 6 months ago that wiped us out. We need to begin again somewhere new. My ex has not been an active father, seeing my kids only 8 times in 2009, for less than 24 hour periods each time, and has presently not seen them in over 6 months. I have never kept him from accessing the children, merely requested that he stick to the guidelines in the decree.
I would like to have my residency restriction completely removed, but have been told by an attorney-to-be that the courts do not want to lose jurisdiction over my children, and will keep them in Texas. I want to move on with my life, which may include moving out of state, and even periodically out of the country for work. I have also been courting a man living overseas, who wants to facilitate a relationship with my children, but their father has refused to consent to applying for new passports (the passport language was completely removed in my decree). He is being vindictive against me and not looking at the children’s best interest. Can I get a modification for residency restriction and passport application?

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, you can definitely file a modification suit on lifting the residency restriction and the passport issue.

How the court will rule depends on the judge and the facts. It sounds as if you have some pretty good facts.

I am not sure where the other attorney is coming from on the court losing jurisdiction issue. The courts have no interest in whether they keep jurisdiction or not, they are simply looking out for the best interests of the child. Good luck.

Please visit my new blog at www.thedallasdivorceblog.com

C. Schlesinger said...

My wife has moved my two children out of state. Over 1400 miles away in fact. The only contact I have with my children is via phone and sometimes with a video messenging service. I attempt contact daily, however I am at her mercy when she decides to call me back as she has blocked my number on her phones. Other than that, my schedule does not permit me the time it would require to see them on a regular basis with the required travel. Also, the financial hardship of the cost to visit my children for a short weekend (over $1200 per trip) places additional restrictions on visiting with my children. She is also attempting to gain domicile in the other state (Indiana)in order to file for divorce against me there. What options do I have to restrict her residence such that I can have more quality time with my children after the impending divorce?

Chris Schmiedeke said...

c. schlesinger, I think that you need to talk to an attorney and file for divorce yourself.

There may be some jurisdiction issues depending on the status of the children, but waiting will accomplish nothing.

Good luck,

Anonymous said...

this is very old post & not sure you will even see this to answer but I do have a few questions...
In my final divorce decree( a little over a year old) My ex agreed to no geographical restriction, now that I have moved he wants to put one on me even though he still gets his regular 1st,2rd, and 5th weekends, spring break, and summer visitation. the agreement on the final decree was agreed upon in mediation so he knew there was no restriction. He took me to court and the judge told him he agreed on the no restriction on mediation so pretty much threw it out, he is now going for a jury trial. We also have a 5 month old and he was after the divorce , he has not once seen this child or ask to see him, had a paternity test on him & still has no contact, he is now taking me to court in my old town to try & get me to have to move back on a geographical restriction on this child, yet has never seen him. what are the chances the court will grant that to him with no relationship with the child , no restriction on the oldest, and I have been gone 6 months.

Anonymous said...

My ex and I have been divorced for over 5 years. We have joint custody(Denton CO) I have primiary residence. He told me he has a temporay a job in Harligen TX by his current job and would return. He's remarried and he wants his wife to pick my daughter up every 1 3 5 for his visitation. I just got a letter from child support office and they show he switched employers and the Harligen is a new employer. On top of all that my daughter told me they are selling their house and I just saw on-line it is up for sale.

What is considered residence? He's rented a house in Harligen but they tecnicaly have a house here. Can his wife take over his visitation schedule?

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, the chances of them making you move back is slim with the facts as you have stated. However, I have not heard the other side's version.

You need to get an attorney if you do not already have one, and address these questions to them.

Good luck.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Most orders allow the parent to designate someone to pick up the child for their periods of visitation.

However, the parent has to be there for the visitation. The visitation is not for the step-parent. How you confirm that I do not know, but that is the general rule.

Good luck.

Chris said...

I am a divorced father living in Austin, and my 16-year old son lives in Dallas with his mother. We have been divorced for approximately 10 years. I lived in Denver for 2 years for employment reasons, and now live in Austin (for 8 yrs). Since the divorce, I have been, and continue to be, very active in my son's life: driving to Dallas to visit him once or twice a month, and/or flying him down for summer, school breaks, etc., and calling him several times a week. His mother just informed me that she and her boyfriend are moving to New York because he took a job there, and she is taking my son. She said that I have no legal say in the matter. Is that true? Is there anything I can do to stop it, or get custody? It seems unfair if she can do this and I have no rights.

Anonymous said...

NEED ADVICE! I was never married to the father of my 8 month old daughter and am living with my mom since I cannot afford to support her or me otherwise. Her father is trying to put a residency restriction on me when we go to court soon so I cannot move outside the county. However, he has barely been around, hasnt paid a dime, and I have asked him to watch her when I needed him to and said no. He is also wanting a dna test to "make sure" she is his daughter. He is also a student about to graduate and I am trying to work and go back to school. I cannot live with my mom forever and want out of the county and area. Does he have a good chance of restricting me or can I fight it? Also, I want to fight that I can live where ever I want in any state since the area I am studying offers good jobs in other states. I do not plan to leave this area for another year or two but I am scared I will be here the rest of her life.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, I am sorry but it is impossible to know how a court would rule in your case. You have presented a very brief side of your facts, which is not enough to even speculate.

If you do not have an attorney, get one. If you do, then talk to them and follow their advise.

Anonymous said...

If you have been approved by the state of Texas to adopt your grandchild, and the parents rights have been terminated, who pays for the adoption? And will the child receive college funds from the state. Does the child's age and the fact that it is a relative placement make a difference?

Angelina Marie said...

Mr. Schmiedeke,
I have read all the posts and I have NO idea if I'll get a response, as the original posting is quite old.
I live in Harris County (Texas) and currently my ex and I are in the T.O. of our divorce. We are going to be going to trial because the ONLY thing we cannot agree on is the geographical restriction. I moved to Houston for him only. I have no family, no friends or connections. I do however have family and friends in other parts of the state and have requested an in-state restriction, even though I'd LOVE to move back to Seattlem where my parents live & 2 brothers live.
I am struggling here in Harris county and the only reason I am here still is because my ex specifically said he wants to make me suffer. He does see our daughter during his visitation, he did refuse to pick her up one during an early release day because he couldn't get out of work. He isn't "involved" and our 4 yr old complains she has to sit and watch him play video games all day.
I do have a recording (that is now in my attorneys possession) where he is verbally abusing me, the kids wake up and on the recording he starts telling the kids inappropriate things about me & our marriage. I DON'T ever want that recording to be heard in court, as I have put that abusive part of my life behind me and I don't want to seem petty or like I am tossing mud... I also don't want his rights taken away completely, just have the restriction lifted... but will a recording like that help our case in getting an in state restriction instead of in county. I have soooo many other great job opportunities w/my degree to provide a better life for my children in Dallas and San Antonio. Any suggestions would be helpful...

Anonymous said...

I have a question. I am a custodial parent and my ex husband granted that I can live in Austin Tx or Massachusetts where I grew up. Recently due to a relationship and job opportunities I would like to move to IL. He was verbally okay with this as it will allow for a lower cost of living and a good career for me to provide. Now he says he will contest it and make us remain in MA. Wouldn't it be hard to say we can reside in MA and not some other state?

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Yes, very hard. I doubt he will prevail. It sounds as if you are already in MA. Those courts may have jurisdiction of this case depending on how long you have lived there.

You may want to contact a local attorney. Good luck.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Angelina, the tape could help if for no other reason than to show the court what kind of person they are dealing with.

Follow your attorneys advise and you should be fine.

Anonymous said...

Chris, regarding Texas courts imposing geographic restrictions... I understand the best interest of the child - if and when both parents can work together and it is financially reasonable. My ex of almost two years who has fought me since the beginning and financially ruined me. He was abusive in our marriage, has had three Protective Orders in the past three years (by three different judges hearing different testimony) and two CPS investigations (one underway). I don't understand now because of legal costs and so much time missed from work to counsel with kids, attempts at co-parenting, etc. I want to move out of town and to get a job where I can make money and the judge won't approve it. I am also seeking this town for family support as I have no relatives locally. I tried to defend my position pro se and the judge said "quit living in the past" as if past behavior of abuse is not a pretty good indicator of future abuse.

How can Texas courts play social worker like HMOs want to play doctor and not be scrutinized?

Anonymous said...

My daughter is 23 and has 4 kids. Two oldest lived with us for 8 months while she lived in and out of motels. She said she wanted the kids back once she got an apt. but I wasn't comfortable. All of a sudden she was accusing the babysitters son of touching my oldest granddaughter. Allegations were not found by CPS. Now I've had my oldest granddaughter since the start of school. Once again she asked for her back but I asked to let her finish school. My daughter does not live in a good area. Now she is accusing my fiancee of touching my 3 year old granddaughter. She was taken to the hospital, allegations were not found. CPS is involved whom I contacted so we could go in and talk to them but still have not heard back and I have not seen my grandchildren. I know drugs are involved and 6-7 people are living in a once bedroom apt. Is this type of case something you would consider? Thank you

Chris Schmiedeke said...

I would have to know where everyone lives before I could determine if I could take on a case or not. Further fact would also be helpful.

Chris Schmiedeke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Schmiedeke said...

visit my new blog at:

www.thedallasdivorceblog.com

Anonymous said...

me my husband of 18 months and our 3 year old daughter moved to texas in july. we only moved here bec ause my husbands father who ran out on him as a child decided he now after 22 years wanted to be a father. we moved from new jersey, where all three of us were born and raised. all of our family, friends and my 2 other children are. in october my husband comitted adultry and asked for a divorce. since none of us were texas residents at that time, and all of my family was in new jersey i took our daughter and went back there. we were in n.j. for a month. h believed all the lies he said that he would change and was sorry, and came back to texas. we werent able to make our marriage work. he got violent and still talked to the girls he cheated with. we came to a verbal agreement that it was ok that me and my daughter move back to n.j. and we would each have her for 3 months @ a time. then after booking our tickets to go home he ended up filing for divorce and custody. in his papers he filed he stated our marriage ended exactly on the date of the 6 month mark of our family arriving in texas. he brought me and our daughter out here on false pretences just to get us stuck here. i was granted a protective order. at court today he had an attorney and a chance to plea his case. unfortunatly a permanent order was denied. tomorrow we have court for temp. custody orders until our divorce is final. my daughter and i had not lived in tx for 6 months. what are the chances that i will be granted custodial parent w/o geographical restrictions so my daughter and i can go back to n.j.?

Anonymous said...

The father of my daughter and I had a weird schedule that was worked around my old work schedule of working nights (joint custody). When she turned 5 and began going to school, due to the odd schedule, he basically had her during the night and I had her during the day, so he would use her against me and allow her to see my basically when he was in a good mood. Otherwise he left her with his mom or girlfriend. I have been her sole provider and the custodial parent so I took him back to court to get this changed. He got standard visitation with me being the custodial parent, which was good and solved the visitation problems but in the end, I once again screwed myself. Getting less in child support (because he didnt have a job), and he also put the residency restriction on me for Dallas and contiguous counties. I didnt really think about it at the time but now I know I screwed myself. Paying thousands in lawyer fees, court cost, social worker costs, mediation etc. A nightmare.....I never realized that I can never achieve my dream of going to Physician Assistant school like i planned without going back to court and re-fighting this loser just because he wants to make my life miserable with control. I can never accept a promotion to another out of state position within my company. In the long run i want to do better to provide for my daughters and pay for their college. I know these reasons currently "are not in the best interest of my child" but in the long run they are. I dont see him trying to put any support out there for her future (college, piano lessons, insurance, better school possibilities) since he is only paying $200 a month is child support. I dont think this is fair. Any suggestions or do I just remain bound by his limitations?

Anonymous said...

My ex got the exclusive right to designate primary residence in the divorce. we got split physical and legal custody 50/50 visitation,but I have had my daughter alot more than that. I have had her about 70Percent of the time. I have filed a modification with the court that the divorce took place in and the respondent has fied an affidavit to transfer the proceedings to the county that she resides in. being that I have had my daughter more in the last 6 months than the respondent is there a chance that it will not be transferred? My Attorney has filed a contriverting affidavit stating that I have had her a considerable amoutn more wich would mean that my county would be the principal county.

TXMom said...

Great blog. Question: I am the custodial parent and my decree has the standard residency restriction (Collin & contiguous counties), but it states that the residency restriction is lifted if the non-custodial parent moves away. The non-custodial did move away in 2004and I moved as well in 2005. Both sides notified each other as required with no issue.

In 2006, we moved back to Denton County. In 2010, the non-custodial parent also moved back to Collin County. There is nothing in the decree that says the restriction is to be reinstated if both parties move back to DFW.

I now want to move out of state again as I have been accepted to a doctoral program at a college near my parents hometown. The non-custodial parent has not made contact with our child in over 9 months (he lives 15 minutes from our Denton address), yet he is now threatening to contest our move stating the original restriction.

I realize a judge is the only one that can answer, but considering the restriction was lifted years ago, he has made little effort to see the child and we have followed all notification requirements...does the non-custodial have much of a case to stop our move?

Anonymous said...

My husband and I were able to have geographical restrictions changed to anywhere in the United States, which we are very grateful. We asked for this modification b/c of my husband's occupation. However, my ex-husband is very unhappy with the judges ruling and is going to appeal the judgement. We were planning to move out of state this summer in order for the kids to get settled into their new environment and get ready for the school year.

My questions are: (1) Can we still move if he is appealing the modification? I was informed that the standard appeals process takes about 6-9 months and I don't want to wait that long to move. (2) And in the signed order by the judge it states I have to notify my ex-husband, the courts, and the Texas registry 60 days before the move or on the 5th day after we know of the change. My husband might have to have surgery (he currently lives out of state and cannot come back home due to his job responsibilities) and I would like to be there for the surgery and recovery. Is there a 30 day wait period for me to be able to move? Like in the original divorce? Thank you for your time!

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who signed a geographical restriction when she divorced, but now she has meet someone else and they are planning their future together. He had a job waiting for him out of state, so he left and she is wanting to get the restriction lifted so she can join him. The deal with the dad is he doesn't always show up on the day of his visitations sometimes he waits till Saturday or just calls during the week to get her. In the custody agreement he gets her every other weekend at 6 pm on Friday. She has even started paying someone to take care of her child while she works. She is completely independent does 100% of the parenting and he comes in when its convenient for him. How hard would it be for her to get the restriction lifted?

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, you need to speak to a local attorney about all of this. If he is appealing, you are going to need an attorney to represent you in that appeal.

In general, you would be allowed to move unless you received another court order stating that you could not. You need to provide the notice of any new addresses pursuant to the decree.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, it sounds as if your attorney is on top of the transfer situation. You need to address these questions to your attorney.

Visit my new blog at www.thedallasdivorceblog.com.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering all of these blog questions. My question - I've got 50/50 custody of my girl. My x-wife wanted a residency restriction put in that the girls must attend Little Elm ISD. We both reside in Denton County, Little Elm. I'm very active in their lives. I attend all their school and after school events. What happens if she moved out of Little Elm ISD? Can the girls move with her? Will she be reponsible for the increased costs? Can I prevent her from moving the girls? As a side note, she threatened me and my wife, is not allowed on our property and had a CPS investigation against her. Would this have any bearing, if we went to court, to have the kids live with us versus them moving?

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, if the court order restricts to Little Elm ISD, then the kids cannot live outside of Little Elm ISD without the court modifying its order. That would mean the mother would have to file a lawsuit.

If the mother moved then the children would live with you.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my husband has a restriction of tarrant county & contiguous counties. We are wanting to move and there are some excellent school districts near us but are right outside of our restriction. She does pay support and does see the children during her visitation time. We are wanting to modify our restriction to include some of the towns around us, we are talking no more than 30 miles, which is still closer than some of the places we are allowed to move. She even agreed to a few of the towns outside our order but not certain ones just so she could control the situation. How difficult would it be to modify our current order being we are only wanting to change it a small amount and not across Texas?

Chris Schmiedeke said...

I don't think it should be too difficult. Many times the court will leave the current restriction in place and simply add a town just over the border.

Please visit my new blog at www.thedallasdivorceblog.com

Thanks for reading.

TKM said...

I have a question.. My son is serving in the military and we have temporary orders for visitation of his daughter (our granddaughter). His divorce has not been finalized however she is receiving child support etc. Our Daughter-in-Law has been living w/ her boyfriend for last year during this seperation. We were devasted yesterday when we went to get our 3 yr. old grandaughter and discovered she has up & moved, without notice, out-of-state.
Our heads are spinning in grief. We haven't told our son yet. He is in the middle East aboard the USS Ronald Reagan.

Anonymous said...

My son goes to court tomorrow to face off with the mother of his son. The mother wants the geographical restriction lifted (currently within 125 miles of the Austin area) My son and his wife bought a home and live in Kyle, TX. He has maintained every single visitation for three years (child is 4) and never missed a child support payment. The ex's husband already job a job in Corpus Christi and she wants to move there with the child. What is the judge looking for to determine the best solution. It's heartbreaking to think my son will be punished for keeping close to keep close to the little guy.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

TKM, if you have a court order for visitation then you need to get an attorney and enforce it. The attorney will have to track her down to serve her.

If your son has an attorney, they need to request a residency restriction if there is not already one.

Good luck.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, the court looks at the relationship between the child and the father and how active he is not only in his court ordered visitation but outside of that as well (i.e. attending extra-curricular activities, etc...)

Kris said...

Please, please help.... My name is Kris, I live in Dallas county and the mother of my child does as well. We did have the residency restriction in place. I am behind on child support but not by much being my child support is extremely inflated. I requested a review 3 months ago and nothing has happened..

Well 2 weeks (July 13) I was served papers on a motion to enforce and also that she wants the restriction lifted so she can move to Killeen, TX with her boyfriend/fiance'. In the paperwork it states that she already has a house built and intends to move in August 1st.

Court was today July 25th and even though she jumped the gun they granted her the move.They lowered my payment 100 dollars and I have to drive and hour and a half to meet her for my son every other weekend. How is this possible?

I am very much involved in my sons life. I keep him for weeks when she has something to do. I get him every other weekend as well. How can she be allowed to move my son so far and then on top of that I have to drive to meet her every other weekend. Which means Friday and Sunday I will be driving to pick my son up and drop him back off. This will be a total drive time of 6 hours. This is strain on my son who wil be 2 in December and our relationship. What can I do?? Please help!!

Anonymous said...

A few years ago, I was coaxed into a mutual agreement concerning the custody of my now 6yr old son. The agreement is 7days with one parent/7 days with the other parent. Residency restriction is to my child's school district. His father's work schedule does not allow my child to have adequate time with his father during his scheduled time, instead the majority of time is spent with the step mother. Let's not forget the confusion with school work, letters, appts, buses, slight behavioral problems, ect. What is the best way to approach a modification of this nonstandard approach to a more standard approach? And as the mother, how do my chances look re-opening a custody case?

Anonymous said...

Chris -

I have a domicile restriction in Harris County including a very specific area inside of Houston where our two sons (10 & 14) must go to school. I was accussed of child abuse two and a half years ago, and although that charge was denied I was ordered to have only supervised visits until the amicus attorney could sort things out. After a nightmarish 13 months the family psychologist wrote a report and testified that my oldest son lied in an effort to help his mother move to Dallas. The Associate Judge lifted supervision, my ex appealed, and lost that too. Immediately after the appeals hearing I was denied visitation and my ex remarried and moved out of town against Court Orders. I hired a private investigator and found her but a motion for enforcement was denied due to something related to the "Slavens" case. I now have a petition for custody and it's winding it way through the Court system (15 months and counting). In the meantime our children live outside of Harris County in very clear violation of the domicile restriction.

Question - Why do I have to demonstrate to the Court that living in Harris County is in the "best interests" of our children. My contact with our children (expanded SPO) materially changed when my ex skipped town. Also - what do you think the Appeals Courts would say about this? I already have a Judge's Orders that says the children must reside in Harris County?

Your blog is great - thank you..

Momneedshelp said...

I live in Lubbock County (texas), and my ex and I have been divorced for 7 years, he has taken me to court many times for custody, but is ONLY involved with the kids for his "LEGAL" visitation. NOTHING outside of that. He doesn't go to games, school events, take them extra, etc.. The judge laughed at him when he wanted custody. I fought all custody battles being my own attorney and won. But I NEED to move. I remarried and now getting a divorce and need to move closer to my family so they can help with the kids. I have a 2 yr old with current husband, and my 2 kids with first husband are almost 16 and 14. I have a restriction to Lubbock county. How hard would it be to ask the judge to lift it so I can move? I am staying in Texas, but need to move about 3 hours away. I want to ask my ex husband to lift it but scared he will run out and get an attorney and try to stop me. I need help on how to go about this and get it done quickly. I travel for my career and where I am I have NO ONE to help me with my children when I am working. And if I HAVE to stay I won't be able to provide for my children. What can I do without spending my year's salary getting an attorney?

Edward's Blog said...

Just a few questions. I have a 9 year old daughter that I share custody with her father. He has changed the amount of child support back to $160 from $560 stating that he is unemployed. I know that he is working, he works from home as an accountant, but he refuses to give his work information. How do I go about getting that information and getting the child support raised? I ask because he has restricted us to dallas and contigious counties. There are 7 people in my family 2 adults and 5 kids. We are living in a tiny apt since that is all we can afford and I can't work. I want to be able to do what is best not only for 1 child but for all my kids. Is there anyway to increase the support or get the restrictions taken off? We have family in AZ and CO that would be willing to help us with a place to stay and jobs. Also I have a court order that I didn't sign. Do I have to go by what is on the order?

I can't afford a lawyer and the last one I had screwed me over. He was being bribed by my ex's family to do what they wanted him to do. I was not married to him but was stupid and searched him out after she was born. He and his family have been in her life so there isn't neglect just really harsh living conditions.
Any thoughts?

Kris said...

I stumbled upon your site after searching for specific information regarding my issue. I apologize if you've covered this already, so please bare with me.

I am a non-custodial parent who resides in Tarrant County. My ex of 11 years, the father of my daughter, resides in Collin County. If I remember correctly, I did not see a residency restriction in my court order for myself. There was verbiage about "living within 100 miles" and "living more than 100 miles", etc. There is a strong possibility that I will be moving to California with my boyfriend in the next 3-6 months. That being said, my question(s) is/are: If I provide 60 days notice that I will be moving out of state (with no recollection of a residency restriction in place), can he contest my move if I follow the "more than 150 miles" visitation rules? Should I, in order to protect myself, file a modification order to gain approval by the court to move out of state when I have a more concise move date? Or can I get in writing his approval of my out of state move and have it notarized and be recognized as an "official document"?

I will read my decree again regarding residency and visitation, but I've read it so many times I would think a "residency restriction" phrase would stick out like a sore thumb. It should be said here that I moved out of state the same year he and I got divorced and he never contested. I notified him prior to the move, too. It wasn't until I returned to Texas within the same year that he withheld visitation from me and pulled a bunch of nonsense that I've been fighting him on ever since. But that's another story! :)

Thanks ahead of time for the advice! What I've read so far has been very helpful.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Typically you can reach a written agreement with the parent. You can file that written agreement with the court.

If you give him the 60 day notice, he has the right to file modification and restrict the move.

If he does not, and there is no restriction, then you should be able to go.

Tarah J. said...

After reading many blogs and not seeing questions similair to mine Ive decided to post on this blog with hopes of good feedback. I would like to tell you some history first: JMC, I have residency of our 5 year old child restricted to Comal/Bexar counties, exhusband has visitation and is heavily involved (he lives with his parents and works nights with only 2 days off a week. So the majority of the time the child has is spent with his paternal grandparents.) Im currently remarried and my current husband will be coming home from deployment in late May/early June and I'd like to move from Comal county to Killeen (approx. 120 mi. away). I can not afford 2 households with 1 income. My exhusband does not pay child support due to the fact that he has him 1/2 the week and I have him the other half (very strange visitation schedule and it has effected the progress of my sons sleep schedule, school progress (pre-k) as well as his health. My question: do I have a strong enough case to change the geographical restriction as long as I'm accomodating my ex-husband and my sons relationship/visitation? My exhusband does not want to agree to anything and has not been lienent with anything whatsoever. Thanks- Tarah tf1061@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Scenerio: Originally from California. Have two children 11 and 8. Moved to Texas in 8/2010 due to my husbands job transfer. I asked for a divorce in 3/2011. My husband moved out in 4/2011. I didnt file for divorce because I needed to support my children and he left me alone. In 6/2011 he got himself a new GF. She moved in in 11/2011. I have only recvd $181.00 in support from him. Recently he asked my son to move in with him. Which my son did.(my biggest mistake). He moved in 2/12/12. This man got engaged on 2/11/12. Didnt furnish him a bed until 2/17/12. I was just served. and he is requesting to be the designated conservator who had the right to desinate the my primary residence of my kids. What do I need to do to avoid that. I am coming to the end of my job in Aug 2012 and my lease will be up. What are my chances of being able to walk away. I do not have a single blood relative here.

Anonymous said...

Hope you can help, my custody order has a residency restriction of Dallas County. I am the primary and recently remarried, my husband lives in San Diego. My ex and I went to pre-trial late last year and was ordered to complete mediation by March 1st. My ex would not respond to the mediator or myself to schedule mediation and so we will miss the ordered completion date. My ex is now ready to come to an agreement. My question is if I have the agreement drawn up, do we need to have it notarized and what is my next step? Will I just have to file it with the court and the judge will just sign off on it or will we be required to go back to court for it?
Thank you in advance for your help.

Anonymous said...

I am a custodial parent and me and the father of our 5 yr old daughter were never married. We have a court order from 2007 from the attorney general that has no geographical restrictions. He is remarried and I have recently started dating someone that I've known for a long while but he lives out of the state. I have no plans to move (right now anyway) but now all of a sudden he is trying to keep us restricted to this county. I have lived outside this county already and there was no problem. I only moved back because I still work here. He is involved in her life but not as much as he should be. He works long hours and doesn't go to her extra curricular events or practices.

Anonymous said...

i do have a geograghical restriction. i can not move my 2 smaller children 50 miles from franklin county unless my exhusband moves out of the radius, then the restriction is lifted, my problem is that i lost my full time job a year ago and have been in a few part time jobs, my 1st exhusband quite paying his child support and my 2nd exhusband had lost his job at the 1st of the year, i had to wait for his unemployment to start and the waiting for the state to process the child support payments, well he has a job now so i'm currently in the waiting process for the payments to start again. i moved away from my family and the moral support to have a life with my husband, since the divorce and the loss of my job, resources are very tight, i have a better opportunity to move back "home" to get help and make a better income for my kids...how can i reenter court with me not being able to find a good job and taking handouts to pay bills and such that lifting the restriction is better for the kids, and yes although he doesn't take the kids as often as he was he does spend time and calls them daily.

Anonymous said...

I have guardianship of my 4 year old grandson in Califoriana. But know we live in Texas with permission from the California Court. How do I get gaurdianship papers here? I've been told we have to live in Texas for 6 months before I can start any paper work.

Jen said...

I live in North Texas and have custody of my 12 year old and 10 year old. During my divorce my ex husband put a location restriction on me. However, I am now engaged and my fiance lives in Colorado. Once we are married, I want to move me and my kids to Colorado to be with him. What are my chances of getting this restriction lifted so that I can get married and move to Colorado with my kids? There aren't any job opportunities for my fiance in Texas with the industry that he is in, but I have all kinds of job oppotunites in Colorado.

Anonymous said...

What happens if the court order does not state unrestricted or restricted? Can the primary joint conservators just move without consulting or involving the joint managing conservator. Can they move 4 hours away and well over 100 miles apart, leaving it very difficult for the father to visit when he was used to visiting on a regular basis?

Anonymous said...

I have a serious question. This is about moving my children out of state. In my divorce decree it states that the primary residents of my children shall be Shelby County and surrounding. I hold the exclusive right to designate the primary residents of my children and can be lifted when i wish to remove the child. My ex does not live in Shelby County. Do I have the right to move my children out of state? My ex was told that we were moving.

Anonymous said...

Hi I didnt know who to turn to but I have a situation in hand and dont know what to do. Im a single mother that has raised my 15 and 13 yr old girls by myself. Now my 15yr old wants to live with her dad. He has never been in her life but maybe a total of a yr. Never paid child support. I know she wants to know her dad so I told her she could stay temp. to see what she thinks. The very next day that she was at her fathers house her father took her dwntwn to file a TRO and Temp. Custody against me. Court is on the 31st of this mth. He has been in and out of jail for several different things. Ive only seen her once for 3 hrs since she left on the 15th. I dont know what has happened but supposely she doesnt want to see me and never wants to come back home. When this happened he just got out of jail after being there this time for about 6mths. Please tell me if you think a judge will let him keep custody of her when he has never supported or cared for her needs her whole life. If i have a chance to get her back. I have no criminal background but i was in a car accident and still not able to work but on workmans comp. Please i need some advise fast. Also the only decree we ever had was that he was ordered to pay child support and have health ins. on her. Which he has not done any of those things. It shows that im the custodian parent but im being told that i cant do anything bout it.

Hopeful in Texas said...

Hi. Thank you for your time in responding to all of these posts. Amazing that someone would take the time for free these days. I think my question is fairly short and simple. I have a 13 year old daughter who lives with me as the primary custodian. Her father sees her on all of his weekends and on Thursdays after school. However, she sometimes BEGS not to go. Her dad lives with an ex-girlfriend and the situation at his house is not the best. My daughter loves her dad, but they butt heads a lot.

My question --- I have been dating someone out of state for over 2 years now. We are at a point that we are ready to get married. I want to marry him, but don't know what my options are since I do have the county restriction in my divorce decree. Her dad will not "let" me take her out of state. At 13, what rights does SHE have? When does she get to choose where she lives? If I move without permission, what are the consequences? If I move, can't she choose to live with me? I don't want to wait til 2017 to marry this man that would provide such a better life for my daughter and I.

Thanks,
"Hopeful in Texas"

Anonymous said...

My ex signed a document lifting the geographical restriction with his attorney during our divorce. Our decree has conflicting language..one part states that the primary residence of the child is without regard to geographical restriction and another part states that there is a restriction. My ex husband says that he will sign another document allowing our son to move with me for a better job opportunity. How would we go about doing this?

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old blog, but I'm hoping I can still get an answer...
My ex has moved from Texas to South Dakota, but I have a restriction to Bexar County. I recently got into school in Lubbock, and I'm due to move in a month. On June 5th I filed a petition to modify the restriction, and can see that he was served on the 19th. It's now the 28th. I'm just wondering how long it will take to get an answer from the court. I already have an apartment ready, and have my three year old enrolled in a daycare up there. I just want to know what the chances are that this could be settled before I'm planning on moving next month. Also, is there anything else I need to do as far as paperwork goes? I don't have an attorney, so I downloaded the petition online. Do I have to draw up a new agreement to be submitted or will going to court take care of that?

Our last name is a first name :) said...

I currently live in Amarillo tx and have standard orders from the AG. Recently my ex has gotten a girlfriend and they are staying overnight with one another. They have also shared a bed together with my daughter who will be 3 in Sept I do not agree and think this is inappropriate. Do I have grounds to modify and gain a restriction on overnight stays when he is exercising his visitation?

Camila said...

My father leaves over seas and he is sick with cancer. My job has granted me a FMLA and I have asked my ex-husband to let my child travel with me for 4 months to be with my parents and he said no. I'm an only child and my son is my parents only grandchild. My ex husband has lived out of state for 6 years (my son is 7) and has just moved back 3 months ago to Houston where we live. We have shared custody and geographical restriction. His argument is he doesn't want our son to miss school but I have a spot for him at a school in my parent's city, he would not be behind. What can I do so my son can travel with me?

Tanya San Miguel said...

quick question (not sure if someone else asked but here it goes)
i live in webb county, so does my daughter, im her custodial parent yet her father put a geo. res on our daughter. Id love to move to another city once i receive my masters in two years to have the much desired career and in this city, there isnt much for me here or to move up in rank, long story short, how can i get the GR lifted ? what are my options? only reason he got it put was because i demanded for the back pay ($5k and i lowered it to $3k) but still it wasnt enough...he had to place that GR on her. -Elizabeth-

Anonymous said...

I am the custodial parent of a 9 year old and a 6 year old. During my divorce I was restricted to Bexar county and the surrounding areas. My entire family (as well as my ex husband's family) lives 7.5 hours away in Amarillo. I now have an 8 month old son with my high school sweet heart. He has moved down to San Antonio to be wih us and left his family behind, to include a son with major health problems from his previous marriage. My question is how do I go about getting a restriction lifted? My ex husband cannot fulfill his obligations that the court has placed on him. He is unable to get the girls to school every Friday and every-other Monday. He does not help with anything other than paying child support. He told the judge the the kids had all the support they needed here with he and I. He has not helped me one bit with things outside the realm of the divorce decree. We have no support system down here. Your advice is greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

If an original order has both parents as Joint Managing Conservators done in Harris County,with the mom having primary residence rights with geographic restrictions.Does a modification with a Nondisclosure finding stating that she is not required to notify the other party or the courts when there has been a change in the information required to be provided pursuant to Texas Family Code 105.006 effect the geographical restrictions? It does not state this at all.

mama44 said...

What judge did you have? I too am going through a divorce in Williamson County. I am only here since we relocated with husband's job. I want to move back home where my son was born in California. I too am a victim of domestic violence but I did not press charges when I should have. A very messed up case and the court system is very corrupt in Williamson County.

Lacy McGrew-Lachney said...

okay I need some insight here we have a living restriction for me and my husband and his ex wife on our boys we have followed everything that the papers have told us to follow we have followed everything that are lawyers in the judges said for us to do but she is not followed anything that she supposed to do we got job offers in South Texas is going to be making more money than what we can where we live she doesn't pay child support she was ordered to pay child support but has has not paid it since it was ordered she gets to visit Twice a month in a supervised facility and she gets two hours each time she went seven months without seeing them and then she doesn't see them even on the visits that she supposed to be there she just doesn't show up so where do we stand on being able to move to make work better for our life without having to pay a penalty or you know getting in trouble for it she supposed to let us know where she lives and a phone number and were supposed to do the same we've done our part but we don't know where she live nor do we have a phone number for her so we don't even know if she is living by the judges rules herself so where do we stand I just need some insight could we could just get up and move or would we have to go back to court first

Anonymous said...

New anonymous.. live in dallas county and getting a divorce. It's been dragging on for 2 years because the dad has been trying to control the mom and situation. Dad stated he does not want to pay child support. Dad has not seen the kids or been involved with them in any way. Birthdays and xmas's have pasted. School functions and programs and sports events he does not attend. When he did pick them up over a year ago he was always late taking them to school and late picking them up. He has even left them at school at times. No medical, no dental, no child support in any way. No school clothes or supplies. No phone callas or anything. when he was made to take the kids he took them to the girlfriends house and left them there basically all day. he picked them over a year ago for 5 months every other week and then stopped all contact a year ago. Also the dad has been abusive and has cheated on the mom numerous times. Kids and mom have attended counseling for his abusive behavior. Kids are afraid of dad. Does the mom have a good chance of lifting her geographical restrictions out of Texas?

Anonymous said...

I am the primary (joint custody) of my 10 year old daughter. There are residency restrictions listed below as exactly stated in the order. I told HIS attorney, (when they first made it only Collin County), that he needed to move to Collin County. That's when they made it contingent. His attorney told me, that if HE moves out of contingent counties, I can have my restrictions removed. Her words "then all bets are off if he moves out of contiguous counties."

IS THIS TRUE?

The decree specifically states:
IT IS ORDERED that the primary residence of the child shall be within Collin County, Texas, or within a county contiguous to Collin County, Texas, and all the parties shall not remove the child from within Collin County, Texas, or from a county contiguous to Collin County, Texas, for the purpose of changing the primary residence until modified by further order of the court of continuing jurisdiction or by written agreement sighed by the parties and filed with the court.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that ME shall have the exclusive right to designate the child's primary residence within Collin County, Texas, or within a county contiguous to Collin County, Texas.

Anonymous said...

You're so nice to spend your time answering everyone's questions!

I just have a quick one: My divorce was in a county near Dallas years ago. I'm supposed to live in neighboring counties around Dallas. My ex moved out of Texas before the divorce was finalized.

If I move- let's say to Austin or even to another state, can he then file for a change of venue to the state he lives in since neither of us will be living in the orginal county/area where the orders are in place now?

Chris Schmiedeke said...

The only place a case would be transferred would be to the County in which the child is living.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
I have a 2 year old son and his father and I were never married nor have we drawn up or established custody legally through the courts). His father is very active in his life currently we have worked out visitation and financials on our own. Currently I am engaged and pregnant and my fiancé lives in Chicago, Il. Can my son's father prevent me from moving to Chicago and do I have to go through the court to notify him (officially).

Sharon said...

Hi - I have some questions in regards to relocation. My ex husband moved to California from Austin right before our divorce was final. He's been residing there for the past 5 years since our divorce. I've been a full time mom since - he visits maybe once a year for a week. I believe he's seen his son a total of 2 1/2 months in 5 years. I plan to move to Florida at the end of June. I gave him proper notice. Now he's saying he won't allow us to move. I didn't see a residency restriction on our decree. I do see that I need to give notice to courts and him about the move. Is he able to stop me from moving to Florida? Us moving does not hinder his relationship. Since he sees him very rarely - however, they do FaceTime 2-3 times a week. Is he able to not allow me to leave? Would he have to take it to court? Am I stuck staying until he may or may not file? I want to make sure I do all the steps legally to be able to move.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Sharon, just follow your orders. If you gave proper notice and there is no restriction in your order then there is no reason you should not be able to move.

In this scenario, the only way he could stop it would be to file a motion with the court.

You need to let an attorney review your decree of divorce and confirm you are reading it correctly.

Chris Schmiedeke said...

Anonymous, without a court order in place, there is nothing stopping you from moving or requiring you to notify him.

The only thing he would be able to do to stop you would be to file a lawsuit.

Hope that helps. Wouldn't be a bad idea to have a local attorney in the event he does file something.

Anonymous said...

I have a restriction for my daughter, however I just recently lost my mom and I've only live in Texas because I was in foster care and was sent here to live with my grandpa and had all intentions of moving home then I might my ex husband and we had our daughter two weeks before my mom passed my grandpa passed so the inky family I have here are all drug heads etc and I don't have anything to do with that or have my daughter around that all my brothers sisters etc live where I'm from u have an awesome support group there and family group there and amazing business opportunities not only for myself but for my husband my ex husband has went to only 1 school event that my daughters had in 2 yesrs doesn't take her to the doctor when she's sick, doesn't even have her 50% of the time when my daughter has her visitation there and has even skipped vacations for extra vacations not including the child more than one occasion what are my odds of getting the order lifted