Can my spouse move out of the county or out of the state?
Yes, but not with your child if there is a geographic restriction in the Divorce Decree. A spouse granted primary custody has the right to determine the domicile of the child, and that spouse can choose where the child will live within the scope of the geographic restriction placed upon the child’s residence by the court at the time of the granting of the divorce. For example, a divorce is granted in Montgomery County and the mother is granted primary custody with a geographic restriction of the child’s residence to Montgomery County or any contiguous counties (Harris, Grimes, etc.). If the mother decides that she wants to move to Travis County or out of the state, she has to go back to court and get the judge’s permission to move, which is not easily granted in most cases. If the divorce decree does not have a geographic restriction, then the non-primary parent must file a Motion to Modify and Temporary Restraining Order to prevent the primary-custody spouse from moving. Ultimately, the mother has an absolute right to move to any county, state or country that she chooses. However, she may or may not be able to take the child with her in this situation. This scenario is not necessarily true if the non-primary parent has already moved out of the county at the time the primary-custody parent wishes to move.