Can I have my divorce jurisdiction moved post-judgment?

Question: My divorce was judicated in a county that neither of us live in now.

Can I have the jurisdiction moved, and if so, what are the procedures for doing so?

Also, there are items in the divorce decree that I wish to have changed (not child support). What are the chances of this happening?

 

Answer:

Post-judgment motions to transfer a case to a new county are commonly referred to as change of venue or transfer of venue motions. State and local court rules govern what is required and whether the change/transfer is permissible in your case. If you intend to represent yourself, which I do not recommend because the rules can be complex, you should contact a local law library and read the rule(s) applicable to your prior and prospective counties immediately.

A law librarian or law clerk will be able to point you to the rule(s), but, beware, these people cannot give you legal advice. There are commonly timeframes in which you must request the transfer. Your chances of success, which you questioned, depend on the facts in your case that you did not disclose – such as your and your ex-spouse’s reasons for moving, the ability of the prospective county to enforce the decree, whether you are attempting to thwart the court or “forum shop,” whether there is a change in circumstances sufficient to modify the decree, and why, whether your ex-spouse agrees to the modification, and why, and so forth.

If you want to change child custody, then you have custodian environment and primary caregiver presumptions, burdens, standards, case law, etc., to face. If you want to make clerical corrections (e.g., the decree awarded you a “Toyota” but you really had a “Tahoe”), then the modification should be simple – some judges will even issue these modification “sua sponte,” meaning on their own motion. If you want to modify spousal support because you cannot pay it, another set of standards apply. The point is, your success depends on the facts unique to your case.

Keep in mind that I am a Michigan attorney and cannot give you detailed advice about the laws in Georgia. I can only give you general information in this answer. You should not rely on this answer as establishing an attorney-client relationship, and you should contact an attorney in your area immediately if you need additional information or legal representation, as most parties in divorces do. Cordell & Cordell has offices in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

Jennifer M. Paine is an Associate Attorney in the Detroit, Michigan office of Cordell & Cordell P.C. She is licensed to practice in Michigan, and has been admitted pro hac vice in Illinois, Ohio, and the United States Court of Federal Claims. Ms. Paine received her BA in English and Mathematics from Albion College and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She received her Juris Doctorate from MSU College of Law and graduated Summa Cum Laude.

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