What Are My Rights for Relocation as a Separated Parent?

If you are a separated or divorced parent in the State of Georgia and are considering moving with your children, there are some important legal considerations to keep in mind. Most custody orders (both joint and sole; both temporary and final) disallow moving a considerable distance – or out of state – without obtaining the other parent’s permission or a court order. If you’re considering a move with your children, the most important first step is consulting with an experienced family law attorney in Georgia. 

The Reason for Your Move

There are any number of reasons why a move out of state might come up after a separation or divorce, including all of the following:

  • The ability to earn more by taking a different job
  • A relocation that is necessary for your current job
  • To be closer to family
  • To better address a child’s special need for a specific educational opportunity

This list could go on. In the end, the court will attempt to balance the reason for your move with the best interests of your children overall (which is always the court’s overriding concern).

Written Notification of Your Move

Before moving with your children, you must provide their other parent and any other family members who have the right to visitation with written notification of your intention to move (and your new address) more than 30 days of that move. It must be noted that, if your children’s other parent contests your relocation with the court, the court won’t block your ability to move, but it could modify your current custody arrangements to ensure that the children don’t move with you. 

Reaching an Agreement with Your Ex

The easiest path forward is to hammer out an agreement with your ex. If your relationship is fairly amicable, this may not be a huge hurdle, especially if you focus on how you are going to facilitate your ex’s ability to continue seeing the children on a regular basis. This may involve doing the driving, paying for flights, allowing extended visits, and more. If you and your children’s other parent are able to come to terms, they must be committed to paper and formally filed with the court. Without the court’s explicit approval, your original temporary or final parenting plan remains legally binding.

Taking the Matter Before the Court

If you and your ex can’t come to an agreement, the court will decide the matter for you – based on the best interests of your shared children. As such, it will take all of the following into consideration:

  • Your motivation for moving (simply wanting a change won’t cut it)
  • Whether the proposed move will affect your shared children’s standard of living
  • How the proposed move is likely to affect your shared children’s relationship with their other parent
  • Your employment prospects in both locations (if you have just as many opportunities in both locations, the court is unlikely to be swayed)

Discuss Your Situation with an Experienced Forsyth County Family Law Attorney Today

If you’re considering a move out of state with your children, you need the professional legal counsel of the dedicated Cumming family law attorneys at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland on your side. To learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 770-887-1209 today.