If my wife wants a divorce, can she take our boys out-of-state?

Can she take my boys from me and move back to the state where she’s originally from?

Asked on November 28, 2011 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, when a divorce involves children, one parent will be granted the exclusive right to determine the residence of the child or children.  If you wife is awarded custody of the children in a divorce and is granted this right, then she would have the right to take the boys and move out-of-state.  However, there are times when the other spouse can petition (or ask) the court to limit the other parent's right by restricting their movement to certain counties, geographic region, or states.  If you are not awarded custody in your divorce, you may want to consider requesting the court to place this type of geographic restriction on her movement to insure that you continue having meaningful access to your boys.  Alternatively, you can ask the court that she foot the bill for the travel expenses associated with your visitation rights (like paying for airline tickets, or requiring her to drive them to Texas.)  This won't prevent her from leaving, but may give her an economic dis-incentive for leaving.


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