Shawn Bible Law Main: (706) 375-2145
Ringgold: (706) 935-8864
Shawn Bible - Lawyer in NW Georgia

Moving after a divorce with kids


I frequently have people call my office and ask what happens to my custody/visitation with my children if I move?  The typical scenario is that parents of young children get divorced.  One parent has custody of the child and the other parent has visitation.  Several years later due to job changes, remarriage or other life changes one parent moves.  What happens to the court ordered or agreed custody and visitation provisions of the original court order?

If the move is of such distance that the visitation exchange would become a hardship under the previous provisions then the parties must address the move either in an agreed order or bring the issue before the court to make a decision to change the current parenting plan.

For example, parents of a five-year-old child get divorced in Georgia and mom gets custody and father gets standard visitation with the child.  The fathers visitation is every other weekend.  A few years later mom changes jobs and wants to move to California.  Of course, the original parenting plan in the divorce decree will not work under the above circumstances.  The parties may between themselves agree to a new parenting plan but if they cannot agree then one party must file a petition to modify the original parenting plan.

In the above scenario, the parenting plan must change to accommodate the move across country.  The court can do several things in the above scenario.  The court could decide that due to the mother’s decision to move the father should receive primary custody and the child stay in Georgia with the mother receiving visitation.  The court could decide that it is still the child’s best interest to move with the mother to California and change the fathers parenting plan to accommodate the move.  A typical parenting plan in such circumstances might be that the father receive the entire summer break from school and visit with the child on any extended school break.  The other big issue the court must address is who shall bear the burden of travel expenses.

The above example is extreme in that one party is moving across the country.  However, even moves that involve travel of over two hours can necessitate the need to amend an existing parenting plan.  Therefore, before making any decision to move a divorced parent should consider the possible implications to the existing parenting plan and consult with an attorney about their options.  In addition, the divorced parent should carefully read the existing order and parenting plan to see what limitations have been put in that order or parenting plan as regards moving.

Legal disclaimer: The information contained on this page and this entire website is for informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.  You should always consult an attorney before taking legal action.  Reading this website or any website is not a substitute for a trained attorney.  This website does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Shawn Bible Law Firm.  Mr. Bible serves all Northwest Georgia, including the cities of Ringgold, Fort Oglethorpe, Dalton, Lafayette, Trenton, Summerville and Rossville, in the counties of Catoosa, Walker, Chattooga, Dade, and Whitfield.