A Parent’s Standing To Modify Child Custody

georgia divorce lawyerQuestion:

I have primary physical custody of my children, and even though my ex-wife now lives in Canada she is requesting a modification of custody.

I do not feel my children should live with her in Canada for many reasons, including my fear for their safety around her abusive husband.

Can she modify custody even though she no longer lives in my state, and would a judge require me to get the children passports to send them to Canada even just for a visit?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Georgia divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

The court has jurisdiction to modify custody awards/orders so long as the children reside in the state. The fact that the defendant to an action also lives in the state the case is filed further strengthens the court’s jurisdiction.

A biological parent who has legal custody of his or her children will always have standing to seek a modification of custody so long as any legal requirements for a modification action in your state are met.

For example, where I practice, to seek a custody modification, the requesting party must first prove a significant change in circumstances materially affecting the welfare of the children before the judge can determine whether a modification should be granted.

Regarding the passports, the judge is left with the discretion of determining custody and visitation. This gives the judge the authority to require parents to complete measures that will facilitate visitation, such as requiring a custodial parent to obtain passports for the children.

The standard for determining custody is “the best interests of the children” standard. Here, the court will always take into consideration various issues such as abuse sustained while in one parent’s custody.

Further, there are various avenues for having these issues addressed such as requesting a Guardian Ad Litem (attorney to represent the children), a family or individual Psychological Custody Evaluation (a psychological evaluation completed by an expert in family therapy of the family or of an individual), as well as moving the court the speak with the children directly.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Atlanta, Georgia Divorce Lawyer Amber R. Piotrowicz, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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