GEOGRAPHIC RESTRICTIONS IN TEXAS DIVORCES
When parties enter into either a divorce or child custody case, the Court which has jurisdiction over the case will weigh whether or not to place a geographic restriction on the residence of the children.
A restriction will typically bind the children’s primary residence to one county and either the counties contiguous to their home county or to places within a certain distance from their home city. Of course, the parties can come to their own agreement without the Court being involved and they can choose whether or not to place a geographic restriction upon themselves.
For those situations that do require the Court to become involved all that is required for a restriction to be set up is for one party to request it.
REASONING BEHIND THE GEOGRAPHIC RESTRICTION
Reason being is that the Court wants to encourage the parties to live close to one another to best facilitate the opportunity for the parents to “co-parent” with one another and to lessen the transportation burden on both parties.
When two parents get divorced or when non-married people cease to live in the same house, the child cannot live primarily with both parents. The parent with whom the child primarily resides (the custodial parent) and the parent who has visitation of the child (non-custodial parent) will share the child’s time between their residences.
By the end of a case the Court will typically ensure that a geographic restriction continues unless the parties come to a prior agreement on the subject or if the restriction is not in the best interest of the child. Once a restriction is put in place it is extremely difficult to get it overturned in a modification.
All in all, a geographic restriction will in most situations do a lot to benefit the non-custodial parent by limiting where the children can move. For every parent who is concerned heading into a divorce or child custody case that they will lose a lot of time with their child, the geographic restriction concept should allow them some peace of mind.