Blog 1

  • Geographic Restrictions in a Divorce Decree

    Texas Family Code section 153.001 tells you it's the general public policy in the State of Texas to assure children are able to have “frequent and continuing contact” with both parents on condition that each parent has validated the capability to behave in the best interest of the child.

    Just how do courts make it happen? They ensure frequent contact with both mom and dad implementing what's often called geographical restrictions. A geographical restriction is an order from the court forbidding the parent with primary custody from moving the main home of the kid beyond an established geographical area. Typically the individual that has principal custody of the children is known as the children's custodial parent and the parent with the possession schedule is named the children's non-custodial parent. For both dad and mom to have “frequent and continuing contact” with their child, the parents should live in the very same geographical vicinity. If perhaps one particular parent is located in Lansing, Michigan and the other parent is living Hurst, Texas, there is no chance both mom and dad will have regular or frequent contact with their child. The non-custodial parent won't be able to visit the child’s soccer games or school activities frequently.

    Just what does a geographical restriction look like? In Tarrant County, Texas, a geographical restriction often states that the custodial parent is not able to move the child beyond the borders of Tarrant County and counties contiguous to Tarrant. Oftentimes that restriction is constrained to Tarrant County only. The parents may also agree to some alternative or the court might possibly order some kind of deviation. To illustrate, parents may possibly come to an agreement the children's custodial parent is unable to move the child beyond a distinct school district or perhaps a 20-mile distance from a selected city.

    It is also typical to not bind the father or mother having main custody to this geographical restriction if the non-custodial parent moves outside that same area. As an example, if there is a geographical restriction identified for Tarrant and contiguous counties, mom has primary custody and the father has a standard possession schedule. Mom cannot move the children beyond this defined geographic location. Nonetheless, if Dad, packs up and moves to Houston, Mom may well relocate anywhere she would like with the child. The purpose of the geographic restriction in this scenario is to allow Dad the option to spend time with their children quite often. If dad relocates to Waco, he's already forfeited that capability so Mom is totally free to relocate where ever she would love.

    Is a geographical restriction guaranteed? Not always. Should a mom or dad asks for it, that parent will most definitely get a geographical restriction in a Tarrant County court. Normally the parent who prefers the restriction would be the parent who does not have primary possession of the kid. If the mother and father reach an agreement and a parent has not requested such a limitation, the judge will almost certainly sign a divorce decree without having a geographic restriction.

    So what takes place in the event, many years following the divorce, the non-custodial parent resides within the geographically restricted region however the custodial parent would like to move someplace beyond the borders of that region? Removing the geographic restriction seldom, if ever, is made possible by a Court in Tarrant County if the non-custodial parent does not agree. In cases where for some reason a Court permitted the custodial parent to relocate outside with the geographic location, that custodial parent normally is ordered to pay all travel expenditures for the kid to see the other parent.

    This payment of travel bills would also hold true if the non-custodial parent moved outside of the location and the custodial parent remained inside the geographical area. Any parent who relocates outside of the geographically limited region ordered by the judge will have to pay travel bills for the kids to visit so long as the other parent stays in the geographic area.

    Just remember, the overarching requirement is for Judges to act in the best interest of the child always. It is presumed to be in the best interest of the child to get “frequent and continuing contact” with both parents. To circumvent a geographical restriction, you will need to prove to the Court the other parent can't act in the best interest of the child.

    For futher information feel free to contact Ami Decker with The Decker Law Firm via phone at 817.810.0005 or even via email at