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First and foremost, if your spouse is agreeable to you relocating to another state with your kids, then you will be free to do. The divorce decree would have to specify that you are the conservator with the exclusive right to determine the primary residence without regard to geographic location or within a certain geographic area that includes the area to which you would like to relocate. Please keep in mind that an agreement with your spouse could include a geographic restriction that includes more than one place. For example, you could agree to a geographic restriction that says that you have the right to establish the child’s residence within Houston (Harris and its contiguous counties) and/or your hometown.

However, if your spouse is not agreeable, it is likely that your ability to move could be restricted to a geographical area.

Section 153.001(a) of the Texas Family Code states:

The public policy of this state is to:

(1)   assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child;

(2)   provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child; and

(3)   encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.

When rendering an order appointing parents as joint managing conservators, the court shall designate on conservator as the one the has the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the child. Additionally, the court shall specify either the geographic area within which that conservator can establish the child’s primary residence or that the conservator can establish the child’s primary residence without regard to geographic area.

The Texas family Code does not explicitly state the factors a trial court should consider in deciding whether a geographic restriction would be in the best interest of the child. However, there are a number of things that courts have looked at in the past, including, but not limited to the following:

  1. reasons for and against the move;
  2. the opportunities afforded by the move;
  3. whether the move could assist in meeting the child’s special needs or unique talents;
  4. effect of move on relationships with extended family;
  5. the effect on the noncustodial parent’s visitation and communication with the child;
  6. the child’s age; and
  7. the noncustodial parent’s ability to relocate.

Also, it is important to note that even if you are appointed as sole managing conservator of your son the court still can restrict the ability to designate the primary residence of the child. Although the section of the Texas Family Code that deals with the appointment of the rights and duties of a parent who is appointed sole managing conservator does not specifically mention a geographic restriction, it does say that the rights can be limited by order of the court.

Video Transcription:

There is a parenting class that’s required, a four hour parenting class, and some courts require different classes, depending. Now this is a class that I ask my clients to take from the beginning, so that they have that knowledge and information to utilize during the case. The parenting class normally doesn’t teach you how to be a parent, but it teaches you how to communicate now in two different households. It is very difficult to discipline in one household when you have kids. Now that we’re in two separate households, it makes it extremely difficult. And children learn how to manipulate their parents, and parents need to be on the same page with how they’re gonna go forward and address these issues.

Parents that don’t talk to each other, children will pick up on that, and they’re gonna manipulate their parents and say what each parent wants to hear. So if you are on the same page with the other parent, you can address all parent concerns with the other parent and not through your child. It’s just a better way to protect your child from being impacted with the divorce process and let them be free and be a child, as they should be. Co-parenting is very important because you will both be parents for the rest of your natural lives.

You’re my client, and I plan on fighting for you and your case. Ramos Law Group, PLLC, your family law team of experts.

Video Transcription by Speechpad.com

Video Transcription:

Normally when parents have an issue with communicating with each other, there is a great website that a lot of attorneys and judges use, called OurFamilyWizard. Now this is an online calendaring program where both parties can actually log in and create an account for their children. On this website, they can post the children’s extracurricular activities, doctors’ appointments, they can even include requests for exchanges of weekends and whether or not the other custodial parent will actually accept or deny those exchanges. And you can post uninsured medical expenses all to the same website.

One of the benefits is that you can’t go in and change the information from the website and if a judge wants to, they can always log in, and look, and review the communications between the parties. If you have a disagreement about whether or not you exchanged weekends, or agreed to a different schedule other than your order that’s in place, you can also refer to the website as a means of documenting what happens.

I also like clients to consider using this website because when you come in for a divorce, you have to create a story and a history of your relationship, and address the concerns that you’ve had with the other parent, regarding your children or any other situation. If you maintain participation through Our Family Wizard website, then that’s all been documented for you, and you can just hit print and we will have all of that documentation ready to go, and it’s in admissible form for the court. The courts now are actually requiring a lot of parties to participate through Our Family Wizard, and this is a good way to keep everybody accountable for their actions.

Ramos Law Group, PLLC, your family law team of experts.

Video Transcription by Speechpad.com

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Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is the deliberate attempt by a parent to destroy the relationship between their children and the other parent. The alienating parent’s goal is to destroy the children’s bond with the other parent and establish themself as “the best parent.”

Parental Alienation Syndrome does not occur over night. It is a systematic process which ultimately results in the destruction of a child’s relationship with the other parent. Parental Alienation Syndrome is frequently observed in hotly contested child custody cases and it is important that parents and attorneys are vigilant as to the symptoms of PAS. Some of the signs of PAS include:

  1. Negative statements about the other parent in front of the child or children. A parent who is exhibiting behaviors symptomatic of PAS will do their best to put the other parent in a negative light by making negative comments about the other in front of the children. This behavior results in the children mimicking the sentiments of the alienating parent.
  2. Involving the children in the pending litigation puts parental alienation syndrome in court. A divorce or custody battle is a matter between two adults. Children should not be privy to the details of a battle between their parents and a parent who willfully exposes a child to such details is often attempting to tarnish the child’s relationship with their other parent.
  3. Refusal to Co-Parent. Co-parenting is an integral part of raising a child and a parent who refuses to co-parent is often not concerned with the best interest of the child, but only destroying the bond.

A divorce or custody battle is already emotionally trying time for a child. A parent who inflicts the above behaviors is inflicting parental alienation syndrome, which will only increase the turmoil that a child goes through. If you believe that the other parent is exhibiting signs of parental alienation, please contact the Ramos Law Group, PLLC.

Recommended Resources:

Welcome Back, Pluto

  • Understanding, Preventing, and Overcoming Parental Alienation™

We recommend that both parents learn about parental alienation syndrome  as there are several levels and for the most part we are all guilty of PAS of some form.    At our firm, we recommend that clients watch the “Welcome Back, Pluto” video by Dr . Richard A. Warshak which helps parents understand, prevent and overcome parental alienation (Warshak, Welcome Back Pluto).

Chapter Titles:

  1. What is alienation?
  2. Understanding alienated children
  3. Mistakes favored parents make
  4. What’s in a name?
  5. Understanding favored parents.
  6. The plight of rejected parents.
  7. Tips for parents
  8. Tips for kids

Divorce Poison – Signs of Parental Alienation Syndrome

  • How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing

He is also the author of “Divorce Poison” which is another guide to help a parents prevent and overcome parental alienation.   If your spouse is bad-mouthing you to your children it is critical that you choose the correct approach in addressing the issue.   Handling the issue poorly could lead to losing your children’s respect and affection (Warshak, Divorce Poison).

This title offers specific advice to protect children from Parental Alienation Syndrome.  In it, you will learn (Warshak, Divorce Poison):

  • How to respond when your children join forces with your ex
  • How to react if your children refuse to see you
  • How to answer rude and hateful behavior
  • How to insulate children from the harmful effects of bad-mouthing
  • How to identify and correct your own contributions to parent-child conflicts
  • How to defend against false accusations of brainwashing
  • How to choose the best therapist and lawyer
  • How reconcile with children after years of estrangement

Works Cited

Warshak, Richard A., Dr. “Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing.” Divorce Poison. Dr. Warshak, n.d. Web. 30 May 2013.

Warshak, Richard A., DR. “Welcome Back, Pluto Understanding, Preventing, and Overcoming Parental Alienation™.” Welcome Back, Pluto. Dr. Warshak, n.d. Web. 30 May 2013.

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