Is my wife stuck in her home town for the rest of her life just to keep her daughters near to their father?

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Is my wife stuck in her home town for the rest of her life just to keep her daughters near to their father?

My wife and her daughter’s father (never married) have a custody arrangement in which she is the custodial parent and he gets her daughter every Thurs for 2 hours, Sunday night – Monday afternoon and every other weekend. This seems overly complex and confusing, especially for my 5 year old stepdaughter. I am in the army and was re-assigned out of state (4.5 hours away from my stepdaughter’s father’s home; he lives with his parents). My wife and I have a new baby who I only see on weekends because her lawyer said she should wait until after court to move. Is she stuck in this town forever?

Asked on January 5, 2012 under Family Law, Georgia

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The most basic answer is no.  Most states have standards for visitation. (They usually set out schedules for parents who live close to each other and another schedule for far apart.)  The one you describe if fairly standard for the age of the child.  Courts can, but generally do not, place geographic restrictions on parents unless there is a good reason to do so.  The fact that you are part of her support system, are in the military, and you share a child together are factors that weigh in your wife's favor.   Courts tend to favor keeping siblings together. The attorney that you have may want to get things finalized before she starts talking movement to keep the issue on the low.  Once your wife talks about moving, a residency restriction will become a condition that the other parent will ask for.  If your wife can get the order done without a residency restriction, then she can move whenever she would like.  She should not agree to it, though, just to get the order signed because it's harder to modify freshly entered orders without a substantial change in circumstances-- and she won't be able to argue a change since you are currently aware that it is an issue.


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