LATEST CASE– IMPORTANT RESULT, PLEASE READ
Issue: Residence restriction/ Move-Back request!
Facts: H and W divorced in Tarrant County in 2013. W awarded custody of the two small boys, residence restricted to Tarrant and Dallas Counties. However, the Decree ALSO contained the standard paragraph stating that the residence restriction is removed and lifted if the Non Custodial parent moves out of the restricted area (!). H, not expecting W to be moving, relocated to an area outside the restricted area. W, seeing H’s mistake and always having wanted to move away to some far away State, made her plans and then, without advance notice, moved with the boys to a state in the pacific northwest, about 2,000 miles away. H, stunned at the move, inexplicably did not take action for eight months but finally retained my office and we filed a Petition to Modify, seeking the return of the children to Texas.
Result: After first fighting a jurisdictional battle over which state had jurisdiction, then setting the case for jury trial but given a date almost a year later, then the judge simply removing the case from the jury docket at the time of trial because he just didn’t think there was enough time to hear it, then us resetting it again and being given a date almost another year later, so that almost 3 years had elapsed by the time the case went to trial, and despite W having remarried a man who had a big income with a large well known company there, and despite W spending a significant amount of money on legal fees and hiring very good lawyers, and despite H continuing to make more mistakes during the pendency of the case by failing to comply with court orders, etc., the Judge, after a two day trial and interviewing the boys, one of whom was special needs, ruled in H’s favor and ordered the return of the children to Texas!
Comments: I consider this a significant win, not only for me and my client and his sons, but for all parents (usually fathers) out there whose children are moved away from them to another state by the custodial parent ! This is indicative of how judges are coming to view these types of cases and how far the attitudes have progressed in the last 15-20 years. -Jon R. Boyd
Lessons to be learned: Always ask for a residence restriction; Know, however, that if you move out of the restricted area, the restriction will likely be lifted, so do NOT move out of the restricted area; If the custodial parent moves your children out of state, do not wait before filing to get them moved back because the longer you wait, the harder your case becomes; remember that Jurisdiction presumptively shifts to the new state once the children have lived there for more than six months, but Texas can still retain jurisdiction if the non-custodial parent still lives in Texas and there are “significant connections” between children and Texas; have money socked away or available to borrow so you don’t get outspent; And call me.
-Jon R. Boyd
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