The first question is, do you have a current decree or child custody order? If you don’t, you need to make an appointment to see an attorney immediately. You need to file paperwork. If you can do it before the move, you are much better off. The longer before the move, the better, so be prepared to take action. If you file far enough before the move, you have an excellent chance of preventing it. If you file after the move, you still may be able to force the other parent to return the child, but you may not.
If you file far enough before the move, you have an excellent chance of preventing it.
If you do have a decree or court order, you need to see if has a geographical restriction in it. It would be in the first few pages of the decree. Look for the section that gives lists of rights and duties to each parent. Near the end of them you will see a section that says “XXX has the right to designate the primary residence of the child”, after that it should either say “without regard to geographic restriction” or “within xxx area”. Most often the area is defined by counties, for instance, “within Harris and contiguous counties.” If the other parent has moved the child out of the allowed area, or is planning to, remind the other parent about the court restriction. If they do not immediately back down and follow the order, see an attorney.
If it says “without regard to geographic location” or the move is within the designated area, you are going to face an uphill battle. However, you need to give a detailed description of your fact situation to an attorney that regularly practices in your court to know how steep that hill is going to be.
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