If it is time to divorce your spouse in Georgia, it may be difficult to leave your children behind. This is especially true if you think your ex is unstable, unreliable, or even dangerous. But can you really take your children with you if you move out of the family home? What might happen if you take your children, and how do you approach this decision in the most effective manner?
The Concept of Legal Custody in Georgia
In order to answer these questions, you must first understand the concept of legal custody in Georgia. Before the question of custody has been resolved by family courts in Georgia, both parents continue to have joint legal custody of the children. In other words, they have equal control over what happens to their young ones. In order to make a major decision that affects the children, one parent must first get permission from the other.
So, what does this mean in practice? Essentially, you cannot relocate your children without permission from the other parent (preferably in writing). For all intents and purposes, the family home is the “default” residence of the children after a breakup. No major decision must occur for the children to remain in place since they were already living in the residence prior to the separation. On the other hand, a move away is a major parenting decision that requires both parents’ consent.
Can You Take Your Children Away From the Family Home?
If you inform your spouse that you are taking the children and they do not object, you may have the right to leave the home with your kids. However, it is always a good idea to come to a mutual agreement on these important issues. If possible, try to get your ex to agree to this relocation of the children. Ideally, they should provide a written statement allowing you to move away with the children.
That being said, you should avoid leaving the State of Georgia. Doing so without your ex’s knowledge – and before the divorce has been resolved – could result in serious legal issues. At the very worst, you could be charged with kidnapping (a felony in Georgia).
Moving Away After Obtaining a Restraining Order
If you feel threatened by your ex in any way, you could be legally justified in fleeing the family home with your children. Be sure to speak with a qualified attorney and pursue a restraining order if this is the case. Not only can this strategy justify a relocation, but it can also allow you to remain in the family home (while forcing your ex to leave).
Find an Experienced Custody Attorney in Georgia
If you have been searching for an experienced custody attorney in Georgia, look no further than Lankford & Moore Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous parents and divorcing spouses approach legal issues with confidence and efficiency. Moving out of the family home is an important decision that can have many implications – but it is just one of many choices during the divorce process. To receive targeted guidance throughout this process, discuss your unique situation during a consultation.