Geographic Restriction

Family Law Articles

People say home is where the heart is, but in Texas, home may be where the court orders it to be.

To enable both parents the ability to participate fully in a child’s life courts usually order that the child’s primary residence be within a certain geographic area. While this restriction seems to only apply to the parent who establishes the child’s primary residence, if the other parent moves outside the geographically restricted area then the geographic restriction is lifted and the parent who establishes the primary residence of the child may move anywhere with the child. There fore, geographic restriction is usually important to both parents.

Sometimes courts order that a child’s primary residence be within a certain school district or within certain counties. Rarely, a court may not order a geographic restriction and a parent is free to move any where with the child. If both parents want to be very involved in the child’s life, then a tight geographic restriction may work best. While parents may want the freedom to relocate anywhere, driving from one side of the metroplex to the other side in rush hour traffic can make it difficult to be as involved. If the distance is between states, then air travel may result in less frequent involvement.

The geographic restriction will last for many years, especially if the children are young. In a mobile society, the geographic restriction can prevent parents from moving back to the state they are from or taking a job in another city. This is why the geographic restriction is one of the common reasons for a parent to seek a modification.

Often modification suits are brought to change the geographic restriction. Some of the common reasons for relocation are:

  • A parent gets a new jobor a job transfer.
  • A Parent wants to move to a place with more family support.
  • A Parent remarries.
  • Better educational opportunities for the child.
  • Better medical treatment for the child.

While many states have relocation statutes, Texas does not. Therefore, the court must be convinced that the relocation provides benefits to the child and the parent that outweigh the difficulties the distance will create fort he other parent to be involved with their child. Presenting the court with a compelling case requires an experienced custody attorney.

Whether you are establishing a geographic restriction, or wanting to modify one that has already been ordered, it is important that you hire an experienced attorney who can best present the benefits to the court. Robin Zegen, The Dallas Divorce Attorney, understands what the court needs to evaluate your case. Call today for a consultation 972-653-0448.