A common issue in divorce and custody matters is the residency restriction that Courts in Texas impose. The state legislature has said that they want to support and promote the relationship between the non-custodial parents and their children. They do this by assuring that there is frequent and accessible contact between the non-custodial parent and their child. In Texas, a residency restriction is applied in almost all divorce and custody cases.


The Courts have determined that in Texas a residency restriction can be as big as Texas or as small as a school district. The size of the geographical area is up to the court’s discretion subject to the facts of the case that they hear at trial. The residency restriction is a court-imposed limitation on where the child can live – not the parents. If you’re the custodial parent of the child, and the court limits the residence of the child, then your residence is also limited. When one parent wants to move away with the child, the court hearing the custody case must determine whether the move is in the child’s best interest as well as the public policies set forth in the Texas Family Code.


In addition to using the Texas Family Code, the court may consider other factors for and against the move. These considerations include the child’s age, opportunities the move will provide, accommodation of the child’s needs and talents, the non-custodial parent’s ability to relocate, visitation and communication with the non-custodial parent, and relationships with extended family.

If you want a residency restriction in Texas, you need to show that you are active in your child’s life. This means simply exercising the visitation that you have been awarded and attending extracurricular activities. You may want to attend some parent-teacher conferences and take the child to the doctor occasionally. If you are active in your child’s life, then the court will protect your interests because that is the “policy” of the State of Texas.

The same applies to parents who want to remove the residency restriction in Texas. If the parent without custody is active in the child’s life, chances are good that the court will not lift the restriction. However, if there is not a lot of involvement with the child by the non-custodial parent, and the custodial parent who wants to move has a good reason, chances are good that the court will lift the residency restriction.


If you are facing a change in your circumstances and need to modify your child custody orders, a Texas child custody attorney can help you protect your access to your child. Call C.E. Borman & Associates at 979-846-4090 to discuss your case.