Following your divorce, you may encounter opportunities to move away from Georgia. Even though you may want to immediately jump at the chance, the excitement may abate due to sharing custody of your children with your ex-spouse. You may even worry that your custody situation bars you from relocating.
Moving away does become more complicated when it impacts your custody arrangement. If the court has awarded you the right to determine your children’s primary residence, you may hope that equates to “carte blanche” in deciding where you choose to go with them. That is not the case.
Notifying your ex-spouse of a pending relocation
Per Section 19-9-3 of the Georgia Domestic Relations Code, you must provide any and all parties that have an interest in your custody agreement with notice of a pending relocation at least 30 days prior to moving. With that notice, you must state the date that you intend to move, and you must also include your new address and telephone number (if known). Your notice should also include a proposed amended custody arrangement.
Anyone with custodial rights in your case may then submit a petition to the court objecting to your suggestions. If the court receives no objections, it assumes they consent to your proposals.
Understanding the consequences of adhering to notice requirements
What might happen if you were to simply move away without providing notice? The court may order that you return your children to the state. It may also order you to cover the cost of recovering your children (which can include your ex-spouse’s legal fees). Such an action might come under consideration when the court determines how to modify your custody arrangement going forward.