Articles Posted in Geographical Restrictions

Frisco child custody lawyerWhen a divorce involves minor children, it is fairly common for issues involving those children to crop up long after the divorce is final. If the primary custodial parent, referred to as the “managing conservator” in Texas, wants to move with the children, for example, it often requires the parties to return to court to modify the original divorce decree. Whether you are the parent who wishes to move, or you want to prohibit a move, you need to understand how the law views child relocations. To get you started, a Frisco child custody lawyer explains the Texas relocation rules and procedures.

Texas Conservatorship Basics

When the parents of a minor child decide to end their marriage, one of the most important issues in the divorce is custody of the children. In the State of Texas, the term custody is not actually used. Instead, the term “conservatorship” is used to refer to the right of a parent to make important decisions regarding the child. A parent may be granted “Sole Managing Conservatorship” or a child or “Joint Managing Conservatorship.” If you are the Sole Managing Conservator, you alone make decisions regarding your child. Courts, however, frown on granting one parent sole conservatorship absent a very good reason. It is much more common for both parents to be Joint Conservators, meaning both parents have the legal right to input regarding important decisions relating to the children.

15042When the parents of a minor child get divorced in the State of Texas a parenting plan is created that dictates how parenting time with the child will be allocated and how the parental responsibilities relating to the child will be divided post-divorce. Unlike most other “final judgments,” however, the terms of a divorce decree are frequently litigated after the fact because one parent wishes to modify the terms. If you are the primary caretaker of a minor child in Texas and you now wish to move out of state with that child you will likely need the court’s permission to do so. If you live in the Plano, Texas area, it is in your best interest to hire a Plano divorce lawyer if you want to move the kids out of state.

Understanding Conservatorship in Texas

Before discussing the steps required if you wish to move your kids out of state, it is important to be sure you understand a few legal concepts. “Conservatorship” in Texas refers to your legal rights and duties as a parent, such as making important decisions regarding education, religious upbringing, and medical treatment. Conservatorship can be sole managing conservatorship or joint managing conservatorship. If you have sole conservatorship it means that you alone have the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent. Most courts, however, order joint conservatorship unless there is a compelling reason to grant sole conservatorship.

womand and girl from behindWhen the parents of a minor child do not live together, either because of divorce or because they were never married to begin with, the child usually spends the majority of the time living with one parent. A schedule is usually in place that allows the other parent to enjoy parenting time with the child as well as long as the parents live relatively close to one another. What happens though if you are the primary custodial parent and you wish to move out of state? Can you move the children out of state if you currently live in Texas?

While it is possible to move out of state with a minor child, you cannot simply pick up and leave the state without facing serious legal ramifications in the State of Texas. In Texas, the parent with whom a minor child lives the majority of the time is referred to as the “primary managing conservator.” In cases where both parents are awarded the right to make major decisions relating to the child the term “joint managing conservators” is used. If you are the primary managing conservator you have the right to determine the child’s residence; however, there is typically a geographic restriction attached to that right. If you are a joint managing conservator, you and the child’s other parent both have the right to decide where the child lives and to establish a geographic restriction or to decide that no geographic restriction shall apply. In other words, although you may have the legal right to decide where your child lives, there is likely a geographic restriction that limits the area in which you can live to a city or county, for example.

If you wish to move out of state you will likely need to petition the court for an order allowing you to relocate with your child unless the other parent agrees to the move. If you are relocating by agreement you will still need to reduce the agreement to writing in the form of an Amended Agreement and file it with the court to ensure that the court orders reflect the current agreement you have with the other parent.

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