Galveston County Interstate Custody Lawyers
Freedom to travel without government interference is an important American right. This means that generally, we can cross state lines whenever we want. One of the few exceptions to this rule is when a parent must comply with a court-ordered custody arrangement. For instance, in the state of Texas, courts often require parents to take certain steps before they can legally leave the state with their child. In some cases, a judge can even prevent a parent from moving at all.
If you have a child and want to move out of the state, it is important to go through the proper legal channels. The Galveston County interstate custody lawyers at Lindamood & Robinson can help you take appropriate legal action, whether that requires enforcement of the current order or modification of the custody arrangement.
Interstate Custody in Texas
Once a family court judge has resolved a custody matter, he or she drafts an order explaining the terms of the custody arrangement. In Texas, courts generally refer to custody arrangements as conservatorships, of which there are two main types:
- Managing conservatorships; and
- Possessory conservatorships.
Managing conservatorships establish which parent is given decision-making authority about the child’s well-being and education. When a court grants shared decision-making authority to both parents, the arrangement is referred to as a joint managing conservatorship. A possessory conservatorship, on the other hand, is focused more on which parent will have primary physical custody of the child.
The details of a possessory conservatorship are included in a Standard Possession Order (SPO), which is issued by the court. When both parents are granted roughly equal physical custody of the child, the SPO will include details about the days and times each parent is entitled to have access to the child. Often, SPOs include a provision about geographic restrictions, which places certain limits on where the parent with possession of the child can permanently relocate. The specificity of the geographic portion of an SPO will depend on the facts of each individual case. Some restrictions may limit parents from leaving the county with their child, while others only require the parent to remain within the state.
How to Enforce or Lift a Geographic Restriction
When a SPO contains a geographic restriction, parents cannot legally take their child out of the specified area on a permanent basis before getting the restriction lifted by the court. This is true even when the parents make an out-of-court agreement as the court can still find the relocating parent in contempt for violating the terms of the SPO.
In order to have the restriction lifted, a parent must convince the court that permanent relocation is in the best interests of the child. If he or she fails to provide sufficient evidence, the court will enforce the current court order. At Lindamood & Robinson, P.C., our legal team has years of experience representing parents who wish to enforce court-ordered geographic restrictions as well as parents who believe the restriction should be lifted due to a change in circumstances.
Contact a Galveston County Interstate Custody Lawyer
If you are considering a move out of state or your former spouse is threatening to relocate with your child, it is vital to speak with a family law lawyer to ensure that SPOs are properly enforced or modified. If you live in Galveston County, please contact one of our dedicated custody lawyers by calling 281-486-6116 or filling out one of our standard online contact forms. The law firm of Lindamood & Robinson, P.C. serves clients located across southeast Texas, including Galveston & Harris county.