Adding a Geographic Restriction on Children’s Residence Post-Divorce

Is it possible to add a geographic restriction on the children’s residence after-the-fact when no such restriction was levied in the decree or final order?  Yes, it’s possible.  But, it’s a tall order.  Adding the geographic restriction after-the-fact requires the court to find that a “material and substantial change in circumstances” has occurred due to a proposed or actual relocation. 

First, be aware that a proposed or actual relocation by itself does not equal a material and substantial change in circumstances.  This holds true regardless of the distance involved in the relocation.

Next, be aware that a finding of material and substantial change will depend on the court’s evaluation of the specific facts of the case, including factors such as the following:

  1. the distance involved [balanced against the other factors below];
  2. the nature and quality of the relationship between the children and non-custodial parent;
  3. whether the relocation would deprive the non-custodial parent of regular and meaningful access to the children;
  4. the impact of the move on the quantity and quality of the children’s future contact with the non-custodial parent;
  5. the custodial parent’s motive for the move (e.g. job change vs. discretionary relocation);
  6. the non-custodial parent’s motive for opposing the move;
  7. the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the children and non-custodial parent through suitable visitation arrangements; and,
  8. the proximity, availability, and safety of travel arrangement.

Speak with a qualified family law attorney to learn more.

Author Jim Cramp is a retired active duty colonel and principal attorney at the Cramp Law Firm.  The Cramp Law Firm provides a spectrum of family-related legal services in the greater San Antonio Region. 

For attorneys, this blog post is based upon the following case: Bates v. Tesar, 81 S.W.3d 411, 430 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2002, no pet.).