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Geographic Restrictions

Geographic Restrictions and Where a Child Can Live in Texas

In Texas, the custodial parent is the parent who has the right to designate the child’s primary residence. This parent is often called the “primary parent.”

Most Texas courts will set a limited area where this primary residence can be. The reason for this restriction is to ensure that both parents have access to the child. In most counties, the restriction can be rather broad. For example, most counties prefer restricting the child live in their current county and all “contiguous counties” to that county. In other words, the child would be restricted to all the counties that touch the child’s current county.

If you need assistance in dealing with a child custody matter, contact the expert attorneys at Hunt Law Firm, PLLC today.

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Can I Remove or Change This Geographical Restriction?

Yes, you may remove or change this geographical restriction but only if you show good reason for the court to do so. For instance, if the noncustodial parent no longer resides within the geographical restriction, a court will most likely remove the geographical restriction altogether. Also, if the custodial parent has a new job offer in another county, the court may allow for them to move the child and change the current geographic restriction.

How Do I Change the Geographic Restriction?

To change the geographic restriction in your current order, you will have to file a “petition to modify the parent-child relationship” in the court that the current order is in. You must then serve the other parent or get them to waive service. Most courts will need you to attend mediation before the court makes any decisions. If the other parent or conservator is not in agreement with the modification, you will eventually need to go to trial to have the judge decide.

Can parents come to an agreement on the geographic restriction?

Yes. Thankfully, courts always allow fo parents or conservators to come to an agreement on issues such as the geographical restriction in a custody order. However, to change the order, you will still need to file a Petition to Modify the Parent-Child Relationship. You and the other parent can then sign an Agreed Order modifying the current order and file it with the court.

What Standard Will the Court Apply to Modify a Geographic Restriction?

Courts in Texas will always use he ultimate standard of “best interest of the child” when modifying any kind of child custody order for any reason. 

Unfortunately, going through the court may take weeks or months as each court may demand certain requirements before they change anything in a current order. It is important to seek the advice of a family law attorney who has experience in modifying a custody order as soon as possible.

Call (832) 781-0320 today for more information.

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