Losing access to or time with the children in your family could be the biggest concern as you contemplate divorce or separation. Typically, parents in Georgia will be able to protect their parental rights by asking for shared custody.
However, there are a handful of scenarios that could limit your ability to spend time with your children. Your ex moving to Florida or to the other side of the state would make visitation prohibitively difficult. If you have a court order related to custody, do you have to worry about your ex cutting you off from your children by moving far away from where you currently live?
Your custody order and the law limit their right to move
It would not be fair for one parent to make unilateral decisions that negatively affect the other’s relationship with the children. When you have an existing custody order, both of you need to comply with the terms included in that order.
Typically, that will include restrictions on where either of you can live. You may have negotiated your own special terms, like an agreement to not move out of the school district where your children currently attend school. Otherwise, a move out of the state of Georgia would require previous approval from you and the courts.
Your ex has to provide you with written notice at least 30 days before the move, and you have an opportunity to respond. This move would constitute a change in circumstances, and you can either agree with their request or ask the courts to review the situation.
What if you refuse to grant permission?
If your ex requests to leave the state with the children and you respond saying that you want them to stay on official paperwork, then you will have to attend a modification hearing related to their relocation request. Both of you will have an opportunity to present your side of the situation, and a judge will determine what they believe would be best for the children.
Just like when you first negotiated your custody arrangements, the best interests of the children are always the top priority when a judge must make choices on a contested custody matter. If you can show that your children’s connection to the local community is important to their well-being or that your ex wants to move not for benefits related to the relocation but rather to deprive you of access to the children, that will make it easier for you to successfully argue your side of the case.
Learning about Georgia’s relocation rules will help parents who don’t want to lose access to their children when they share custody.