If I remarry and move out of state with my child, do I have to go to court or can my ex and I change the terms of out parenting plan ourselves?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If I remarry and move out of state with my child, do I have to go to court or can my ex and I change the terms of out parenting plan ourselves?

My ex and I have been divorced for 11 months and we have joint custody, with me being the

primary. We wrote our own parenting agreement and within it placed geographical restrictions. Both my ex and I are in agreement to allow me to move to another state with our child from Texas to Georgia and I will be providing transportation for the child’s visits with her father. Our child is 8 and is perfectly content with all of the arrangements. My ex currently lives 3 hours away and this move would be 12 hours but he is perfectly content with all arrangements. I plan on remarrying and the 2 men have met and agree on things. Do we need to go before a judge to change our parenting agreement lifting the geographical restriction?

Asked on April 25, 2016 under Family Law, Texas


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Many orders in Texas provide for geographic restrictions.  Lifts of geo restrictions are traditionally handled in a variety of ways in these orders.
Most have a clause that says the geographic restriction will remain in effect unless an agreement is signed, in writing, and filed with the court.  If your decree has this type of provision, write up the agreement, have both of you sign it, and then go file a copy of it with the court. 
If there is absolutely no method in your decree for lifting the geographic restriction, then your safest option is to do an agreed modification that sets out all of the agreements you have listed above. 
Many people don't go back to court and change their orders... and things work out just fine.  However, if you do move without an order modifying the restriction, you run the risk of your ex- filing a motion to enforce after you have already moved.  If the judge decides to uphold the original order, then you would have to move back to Texas in order to retain full custody of your son.

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