Geographical Restrictions

Geographical restrictions and relocation is one of the most contested issues in a child custody case. When parties with children get a divorce or separate if they’re not married the court has the ability to impose a geographic restriction on the child’s residence. In other words, the court may determine the geographic area in which the child can live. A typical geographic restriction would be the county in which the divorce or custody case is filed and the surrounding counties. For example, if a divorce is filed in Harris County, Texas, the court will often require that the child remains in Harris County or one of the surrounding counties. The issue of the geographic restriction of a child can be broad; like the state of Texas, very narrow; like a specific school district, or somewhere in between; such as a county, several contiguous counties, or a city.

Child Abductions

Many people think of kidnappings and child abductions as acts that occur at the hands of a stranger. However, many abductions are committed by someone your children know, and sometimes that person is a parent.

If a parent withholds or absconds with a child, there are legal remedies available, but they require swift and aggressive action on your behalf.

International Abductions and the Hague Convention

International child abduction is when a parent who has no legal right to do so moves a child to another country. The Hague Convention was created to provide children with protection against the adverse effects of abducting a child across international borders, and it aims to facilitate the quick return of children to the country of habitual residence.

The Hague Convention does not apply to all international abduction cases. To petition for the return of a child under the provisions of the Hague Convention, the following factors must be met:

  • The child is a habitual resident of a member country and has been wrongfully removed or retained to another member country. (Habitual residence is the place where the day-to-day life of a child was centered before their move)
  • The countries involved must already be members of the Hague Convention by the time that the abduction occurred.
  • The child must be less than 16 years old during the time of application.


The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a uniform act used by all states (except for Massachusetts) that lays out guidelines for determining when a state court has the jurisdiction to make, alter, and enforce custody determinations. The UCCJEA determines if a state has jurisdiction over custody proceedings in several situations, including initial custody determinations, modifications of earlier orders, temporary emergency jurisdiction, and times when courts may decline to exercise jurisdiction.

This act is necessary because we are living increasingly mobile lives, and it is not uncommon for parents of a child to live in different states, especially after a divorce. The UCCJEA standardizes orders and ensures that they will not get changed based solely on one parent moving somewhere else.

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