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Move Away Situations
What happens if my spouse wants to relocate geographically with my child after a divorce?
If you are concerned that your spouse may want to relocate half way across the world after gaining Child Custody and that you will then not be able to see your child for years on end, it is essential that you speak up before any Divorce or Child Custody orders are signed.
In Texas, the key is to get a residency restriction clause in your Final Decree of Divorce or Child Custody Order (commonly known as Order in Suit Affecting Parent Child Relationship). In Dallas it is common practice that upon one parent’s request the parent that establishes the residency of the child is required to live in either the county of jurisdiction and any county contiguous to the county of jurisdiction. To illustrate, consider the following example:
Mom and Dad live in Dallas at the time they file their divorce. Mom wants to move to New Jersey and take the children. Dad requests that a domicile restriction clause be included in the Final Decree of Divorce ordering that Mom may only reside in a certain county. The Court agrees with Dad. The result is that Mom will not be able to move to New Jersey. If she does, she could forfeit her right to establish the residence of the children. Mom is permitted to continue to live in Dallas and may move anywhere else within Dallas or to any other county that touches Dallas county on the map. These counties include Collin, Tarrant, Denton, Ellis, Kaufman and Rockwall.
The important thing you must do is get the domicile restriction into the Child Custody or Divorce order, or there will be little that the court can do.