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Last Week I Tried a Relocation Case

Last week I tried a relocation case. The wife filed for divorce and wanted to relocate with the parties’ two (2) children from Fort Worth to El Paso. The husband wanted to remain in Fort Worth. In reality, the issue is not where the parents live but where the children live.

The current rule of law in Texas is that there is a legal presumption that the children’s residence be restricted to a geographic area. The public policy of the state of Texas is to assure that the children have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the children; provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the children; and to encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their children after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. Section 153.001(a)(1)-(3) West 2014).

The best interest of the children is always the primary consideration of the court when determining the issue of conservatorship, possession of, and access to the children. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. Section 153.002 (West 2014). If the wife were allowed to move with the children husband would necessarily be a remote and occasional visitor in the children’s lives; therefore, preventing him from having frequent and continuing contact with the children.

It has been my experience that Judges are going to restrict the children’s residence unless you can demonstrate that the other parent has not been involved in the children’s lives, has a history of violent behavior or is an illegal drug user. So expect the court to establish a geographical restriction for the children so both parents can be involved in their lives.