Ask a Divorce Lawyer: Will I automatically get placement of my kids if my ex violated the decree by moving away?

Question: My ex wife and I have joint custody of our 8-year-old daughter. She recently moved to Dallas without telling me. 

In the divorce decree it states that she cannot move more then 150 miles for my hometown. Dallas is over 300 miles away. 

What should I do about this since she’s already moved? I can’t make her move back, right, but I should be able to get my daughter to live with me at least?



You need to contact a domestic litigation attorney licensed in Texas immediately as she is violating a court order.  However, to answer your question, although she violated the decree, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will automatically get placement of your daughter.

In addition to the provisions of your divorce decree, there is likely a statute which requires her to follow a set procedure prior to moving your child a certain distance away.  In most jurisdictions, this procedure includes an opportunity for you to object.  If you object, the Court can then review the custody and placement arrangements to determine whether or not the move is in the child’s best interest.  The Court could determine that she violated the Order but that the move is still in your child’s best interest.  This is why it is important to contact an attorney right away.

I do not practice in your jurisdiction so I cannot tell you how your courts address these situations.  However, Cordell & Cordell has many attorneys licensed and located in Texas who would be happy to help.


Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.

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