I want to know about Geographic Restrictions.
What is it?
Geographic restrictions limit where your child lives. In a custody order or divorce decree, there may be a section that tells the primary conservator what county or counties the child resides. For example, if there is clause in there, it will read: “to Harris county and its contiguous counties.” Also, it may state, “to Montgomery county only.” Yikes!
You may not care about the restriction now, but it may be inconvenient later.
The restrictions are generally derived from where the parents currently live. The benefit is:
- It creates a safe and stable environment for the child.
- Where a parent is a flight risk. It keeps him or her in a county/counties so you won’t have to run around looking for them.
- Some parents focus on school zone restrictions for the child’s educational benefit.
- Similar to #2, it prevents or reduces international abduction or flight risk.
How to Remove Geographic Restrictions.
You must file a petition with the court that ordered the restrictions in the first place. The child may have moved to an adjacent county; if the current county is an inconvenience, then you may request a transfer. However, talk to a family counselor about the facts of your situation.
To remove the restriction, it must be:
- Over one year since the court rendered the previous order unless there is a pending danger.
- Also, you can request removal if the circumstances of the child has substantially changed.
- File a petition to modify parent-child relationship.
The Automatic Lift
You can put a clause in your decree or order that permits the primary parent to move if the secondary parent relocates. This is a conditional restriction. It saves you legal fees and time.
Yes. If the secondary conservator moves, you will not be required to file a modification.
Sample of geographic restriction statement
The Court finds that, in accordance with section 153.001 of the Texas Family Code, it is the public policy of Texas to assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child, to provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child, and to encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage. IT IS ORDERED that the primary residence of the children shall be within _____ county and its contiguous counties, and the parties shall not remove the children from ______ county and its contiguous counties for the purpose of changing the primary residence of the children until this geographic restriction is modified by further order of the court of continuing jurisdiction or by a written agreement that is signed by the parties and filed with that court.
School Zone restrictions
Some parents, in addition to the statement above ask for school zone restriction. If such exists, then both parents are required to keep the child enrolled in the school zone.
This is specially important for a child, even if the parents may not get along. Often times, it is used in divorce decrees.
When you are stressed, imagine the amount of stress the child is experiencing. Even worse, they are unsure of how to deal with it.
One of the best gifts a parent can give that child is keeping them in an environment that is safe. Keep some things predictable – at time that is unpredictable.
If you have any questions, give us a call at Aminu Law Firm; one of our staff will be glad to assist you.
(832) 529-1255. Office@aminulaw.com.
We are always thinking of legal solutions for families – peace, honesty, and justice.