Issue: Residence restriction / Move-Back request!
Facts: H and W divorced in Tarrant County in 2013. W awarded custody of the two small boys, residence restricted to Tarrant and Dallas Counties. However, the Decree ALSO contained the standard paragraph stating that the residency restriction is removed and lifted if the Non Custodial parent moves out of the restricted area (!). H, not expecting W to be moving, relocated to an area outside the restricted area. W, seeing H’s mistake and always have wanted to move away to some far away from State, made her plans and then, without advance notice, moved with the boys to a state in the pacific northwest, about 2,000 miles away. H, stunned at the move, inexplicably did not take action for eight months but finally retained my office and we filed a Petition to Modify, seeking the return of the children to Texas.
Result: After first fighting a jurisdictional battle over which state had jurisdiction, then setting the case for jury trial but given a date almost a year later, then the judge simply removing the case from the jury docket at the time of trial because he just didn’t think there was enough time to hear it, then us resetting it again and being given a date almost another year later, so that almost 3 years had elapsed by the time the case went to trial, and despite W having remarried a man who had a big income with a large well known company there, and despite W spending a significant amount of money on legal fees and hiring very good lawyers, and despite H continuing to make more mistakes during the pendency of the case by failing to comply with court orders, etc., the Judge, after a two day trial and interviewing the boys, one of whom was special needs, ruled in H’s favor and ordered the return of the children to Texas!
Comments: I consider this a significant win, not only for me and my client and his sons but for all parents (usually fathers) out there whose children are moved away from them to another state by the custodial parent! This is indicative of how judges are coming to view these types of cases and how far the attitudes have progressed in the last 15-20 years. -Jon R. Boyd
Lessons to be Learned: Always ask for a residence restriction; Know, however, that if you move out of the restricted area, the restriction will likely be lifted, so do NOT move out of the restricted area; If the custodial parent moves your children out of state, do not wait before filing to get them moved back because the longer you wait, the harder your case becomes; remember that Jurisdiction presumptively shifts to the new state once the children have lived there for more than six months, but Texas can still retain jurisdiction if the non-custodial parent still lives in Texas and there are “significant connections” between children and Texas, And call me.
Issue: Case in Dallas County, involving an infant. W was from a northern state and had come to Texas briefly to live with H near his family. W returned to her home state when the marriage didn’t work out.
Result: Won “residence restriction/move back.” We filed immediately so that Texas could be claimed as home state. We had hearing and court ordered W to return the child to Texas.Issue: H and W lived in Collin County until W filed for divorce. At Temp. Hrng., W won permission to move the two small children to West Texas to live with her parents, claiming that H had been abusive. H was represented at that time by another attorney.
Issue: Case in Dallas County, involving an infant. W was from a northern state, and had come to Texas briefly to live with H near his family. W returned to her home state when marriage didn’t work out.
Result: Won “residence restriction/move back.” We filed immediately so that Texas could be claimed as home state. We had hearing and court ordered W to return the child to Texas.
Issue: Sole Managing Conservator/Mother asked for a jury trial in an attempt to persuade the jury to allow her to move the parties’ child out of the state.
Result: Won jury trial. I won joint custody for the father, despite evidence of his having committed family violence, which would have disqualified him from being appointed. The jury did not allow the Mother and her spouse to move out of the state with the child.
Issue: Mother requested jury trial in an attempt to persuade the jury to allow her to move the parties’ child to the foreign country where she was from.
Result: Won jury trial. Father was awarded joint custody and the jury denied his ex-wife’s request to move the child out of the country.