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Hawaii Five-0 deals with relocation issues

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:

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.