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Wells_Tesla

Understanding Legal Jargon

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I am a mother of one, divorced and living in Texas, who has joint custody with her ex-husband. Much of my divorce decree is followed by "regardless of geographical location," and I'm unsure exactly what this means? My ex-husband and I had what our attorney referred to as a "cookie cutter" divorce. I am now remarried, and my husband and I are looking to move to California to take care of his sick grandmother. My ex-husband never played a large role in my son's life. I've had to get on his case just to have him call or pick up his son regularly. I've been harrassed repeatedly by his new wife, and even had to file a police report when he got violent with me. What should I expect as far as trying to leave the state? I want to have my ducks in a row in the event I have to go back to court. Are there certain questions I should speak with an attorney about? Is this something that can even be settled without one?

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I have no idea what "regardless of geographical location" means because you haven't written the provisions that include that phrase so there's no way to define it out of context. I doubt, however, that it has anything to do with your desire to leave your state with your child.

You've pretty much got two choices.

1 - Go ahead and move. Then send him your new address.

2 - Petition the court for approval of your move.

The consequences of 1 is that he could suddenly want to enforce visitation rights and you'll end up paying for the transportation of him or the child.

The consequences of 2 is that he might fight you in court, it will cost you a lot of money for lawyer fees, and you might be denied approval to relocate with your child.

As for whether this can be settled without lawyers and court is between you and your ex. All you need to do is tell him your plans and you'll get the answer to that question pretty quick.

There is, of course, a third option. It's the one that custodial parents never want to do. It's the one where you leave the child with the other parent and you move wherever you want to.

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I am a mother of one, divorced and living in Texas, who has joint custody with her ex-husband. Much of my divorce decree is followed by "regardless of geographical location," and I'm unsure exactly what this means?

This is not "legal jargon." It's basic English. "Regardless of geographical location" means that whatever the phrase is talking about isn't dependent on where you or your ex lives. For example, it might say something like: "Mother must pay Father $1,000 per month for child support on or before the 1st day of the month, regardless of geographical location." That would mean that it doesn't matter where you guys live -- the support is still due ont he 1st. If you want to provide a different context, I may be able to explain further.

What should I expect as far as trying to leave the state?

We have no way of knowing how your ex might react. We also obviously have no idea what your divorce decree says as it relates to an out-of-state move.

Are there certain questions I should speak with an attorney about?

Yes. You should take your divorce decree to an attorney and ask whether moving out of state is permissible, whether you will need your husband's written consent, whether you will need a court order if he won't consent, etc. I will tell you that your husband's desire to move to take care of HIS grandmother isn't a particularly compelling reason to remove your child from his father's life on a regular basis.

Is this something that can even be settled without one?

Yes, if the two of you can work it out.

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You've pretty much got two choices.

1 - Go ahead and move. Then send him your new address.

2 - Petition the court for approval of your move.

There's a third option. She can behave like a reasonable adult and say to her ex, "hey Barney, here's what we're thinking; will you consent?" It's always possible he'll respond like a reasonable adult. Maybe he'll say yes. Maybe he'll say no and have legitimate reasons for saying no. Most courts will expect some effort to work it out before coming into court. If he does say no, then the poster can consider the two options mentioned.

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