What is a "residence restriction" in a divorce case? A residency restriction is a restriction that applies to the children of a divorcing couple, not to the custodial parent. Often the Judge will impose a restriction as to where a child's domicile will be. In Tarrant County the judges often limit the child's residency to Tarrant and contiguous counties (counties that touch Tarrant County.) But the restriction can be much smaller than that. Sometimes a judge might limit the child's residency to just Tarrant County, and sometimes the restriction could be as limited as a restriction to a specific school district. The effect of the residency restriction affects the parent who has the right to determine the child's residence. However, the restriction will not and cannot limit where a person can live. But the effect is that if the primary parent wants to move, he/she has to leave the children behind with the other parent. This defeats any argument that the court is illegally and unconstitutionally limiting where a United States citizen may live.
The Texas State Legislature has decided that it is important to promote frequent contact between parents and their children. The way that this is accomplished for the noncustodial parent is imposing a residency restriction for the child. Almost all divorce decrees in Tarrant County include a residency restriction.
If you already have a residency restriction imposed on your child and want to lift that restriction, you must petition the court and request that the residency restriction be lifted. In Tarrant County this is definitely an uphill battle. If the noncustodial parent is involved in the children's life and exercises his/her visitation, there is a very low probability that a judge will allow you to move with the child.
If you have questions about residence restrictions, please call 817-285-2855 for a complementary strategy session with me, Anita Cutrer.