Did y’all see Hawaii Five-0 on January 21st “Hana I Wa’la”?  If you didn’t, here’s the link to watch it:

http://www.cbs.com/shows/hawaii_five_0/video/ipvvb_95gAWpl3Ka7dppg6QfBK3mBW70/hawaii-five-0-hana-i-wa-ia

If you don’t follow this show, here’s the low down.  Danno moved to Hawaii to follow his ex-wife, her husband, and his daughter.  He is a huge part of his daughter’s life.  After a couple of years, the ex-wife and her husband decide to leave Hawaii and move to the mainland. Danno goes to court to try to stop the move. The episode shows Danno in Court presenting his side to the Judge.  McGarrett, his police partner, is there as a character witness.  Danno is disappointed because the ex-wife did not appear for the hearing. Nonetheless, Danno gives an impassioned plea to the Judge about how he moved to Hawaii to be close to his daughter and now would be devastated if she was taken away.  At the end of the show the Judge rules in his favor, ordering that the daughter cannot be moved away from Hawaii.

The show is unrealistic in its depiction of the courtroom scene.  A litigant is almost never allowed to just stand up and talk to the judge.  A witness is also not allowed to stand up and address the judge.  Usually this is done in the context of testimony from the witness stand with the lawyers asking questions. And, if the other side fails to appear for the hearing, then the party that did appear wins by default.

Even so, this show highlights an issue that comes up in many family law cases in Dallas, Texas. Most family law judges in the DFW area place domicile restrictions on a child’s residence. This usually restricts the child’s residence to “Dallas and contiguous counties” or some similar version. This means that the child’s residence must be within the restricted area. If the parent that is given primary custody wishes to move out of the area, he or she must seek permission of the divorce court to change the child’s residence or leave the child in the primary care of the other parent.  The domicile restriction does not restrict the parent’s residence, just the child’s.

Sometimes a parent will try to move without seeking permission from the divorce court, forcing the other parent to go to court to try to force him or her to move back. Most often, the judge will make the child move back to the restricted area, either with the primary parent or with the other parent.

To read more about domicile restrictions and relocation, read our post If you’re gonna divorce in Dallas, you better plan to stay here!

 

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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.