My Ex Wants to Move Out of State with Our Child. What Can I Do?

There are a lot of words parents use to describe co-parenting with their exes. It can be stressful, emotionally draining, and time-consuming, but there’s one word we rarely hear: easy. What happens when your ex throws a new twist into the road by choosing to move hours away with your child?

The good news is that you don’t have to sit by and watch your child move away. In Georgia law, there is a procedure in place for situations when two parents share custody and one parent wants to move out of the area with the child. Our experts at Oxendine Law are here to give you a peek into how the process typically works.

Step 1: Written Notification

By law in Georgia, a parent who shares custody of a child and wants to move with the child needs to notify the child’s other parent in writing. They need provide this notification at least thirty days in advance and give you the full address of their future home. This gives you time to work through the Court to modify your custody or parenting time in any manner necessary to accommodate the potential move, or to contest the move with the court.

Step 2: Making an Arrangement

After you receive the notification, your first step should be to meet with a custody lawyer to discuss your options. If you have a friendly relationship with your ex, the best case scenario is to meet with your ex to try to negotiate a new parenting plan based on your ex’s move. For example, let’s say you and your ex currently live in the same city and your child spends weekdays with your ex and weekends with you. If your ex moves to another state, you may decide you want your child to live most of the time with them and to visit you one weekend per month, as well as a longer visit with you over the summer. Not all parents are able to reach an agreement they both feel is fair, but if it’s possible, an amicable agreement is always best.

Step 3: Filing with the Court

Whether or not you’ve reached a modified custody agreement with your ex, the Court is the one who has the final say. If you and your ex have a proposed agreement, you need to file it with the Court for the Court to either approve or deny it. If you haven’t been able to reach an agreement, our attorneys can help you file your own custody modification.

Step 4: Reaching the Result

At this point, the Court will examine the documents you’ve submitted and may hold a hearing to determine what is in the best interest of your child.

Years ago, the parent with primary physical custody was almost guaranteed to keep primary custody unless the other parent could convince the Court that moving wasn’t in the child’s best interest. The Georgia Supreme Court threw out that rule in 2003. Today, the Court takes a close look at each case to see which living situation is in the child’s best interest. In other words, both parents have an equal chance of getting a custody ruling in their favor.

As skilled family law attorneys, our lawyers will examine all the details of your situation and build a case that gives you the strongest possible chance for the outcome you want. Whether you want to prevent a move altogether or to simply advocate for a fair parenting plan in the wake of the move, we’re here to help. To discuss your options, call Oxendine Law today to schedule a meeting. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more family law tips.