From pursuing career opportunities to moving closer to extended family members who can provide needed support, there are many reasons that a custodial parent may want to relocate after divorce.

However, like many other states, Georgia law may require a custodial ex-spouse to follow certain rules when moving a significant distance from a child’s other parent.

Does the custodial parent have a legitimate reason to move?

If a custodial parent wishes to relocate shared children, he or she may need to seek consent from both the court and his or her former spouse.

One of the first questions the court may consider is whether the spouse with primary custody has legitimate reason to move, such as a promising job or a new community that may foster children’s educational and social opportunities.

How will relocation affect children’s relationships?

If a parent with custody relocates far from his or her ex-spouse, that could have a dramatic effect on a child’s current relationships with friends and family.

It may also prevent a child from maintaining a close connection with the other parent. When seeking relocation, the court may consider the impact of relocation on a child’s current social circumstances as well as specific visitation arrangements.

What if custody arrangements need revisiting?

Creating a clear parenting plan often helps divorced parents establish clear boundaries, expectations and responsibilities. Relocating a child may require revisiting original agreements. In some cases, it may be preferable for parents to rework a current parenting plan or even change primary custody to the other spouse.

An original parenting agreement may work immediately following divorce, but life can change quickly. That is especially true of parents who separate while children are still young. Georgia parents should know that, when life brings change, it may be time to change an original custody arrangement.