My ex-wife lives in Valdosta Georgia and I live in Marietta Georgia. I currently have physical custody of our 2 daughters. She gave them to me in our divorce 5 years ago. She has now remarried and is going to challenge me for custody. Where does she file...in Valdosta (Lowndes County) where she lives or Marietta (Cobb County) where the girls and I live. We got our divorce in Lawrenceville Georgia (Gwinnett County).
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Georgia
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX X'm a family law litigation attorney here to assist you.
The only court that has jurisdiction over a modification of custody request is the family law court of the county where the children live. Thus, she would have to file in Cobb County.
Also, getting a modification of custody is very hard to achieve. To even have standing, your ex would have to show that there has been some change in your situation that warrants a modification - like you remarrying, being convicted of a crime, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, Child Abuse, etc. If there aren't any changes, if there aren't any changes, it isn't likely that she would even have standing to try to modify custody.
Even if there were grounds, she would have to prove that it is in the child's best interest to make a change. This is very difficult to prove if everything is well with the current situation.
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She is the one that has remarried. He new spouse is in the airforce and stationed in Valdosta right now. Of course that could change at any time.
You stated family law court....which court is that? I understand she is trying to do this without an attorney. what should I do? She supposedly filed the papers on Friday.
Her Remarriage isn't grounds to seek modification from you - you would have to be the one that got remarried for that to be relevant.
Also, the County Superior Court is the court that handled family matters. There is a family division within the superior court.
You shouldn't do anything until you are served with papers for the modification. At that time, you need to see an attorney about responding to the petition and hopefully to get the case dismissed; if she filed the case in her home county, the first thing to do would be to have the case transferred from that county to Cobb via a motion to transfer venue.
the motion to transfer venue...is that something that an attorney would do after I am served? Is there anyway that she can go before a judge without serving me?
If there is anything under handed that can be done that is exactly what she will do. She has even convinced the girls to ask me to let them live with her. They are 9 and 11 and no way are they going without a fight.
Yes, the motion to transfer would be something that you would file AFTER being served with the motion to modify.
No, there should be no way for her to get an order changing custody without you being noticed of it.
Since you have custody, nothing should happen without you first being noticed.
I was told she filed the papers on Friday but I do not know where. How long before I should be served? Is that something that can just be mailed to me? Is there anyway I can find out where she filed them?
If I understand your prior answer, she could file where she lives and if I do not file for a change of venue, then I would have to go there. Is that correct?
She likely has at least a month to serve you.
If you want to call around, you could call her home county family law court, the county you live in and the county that granted the divorce and ask the clerk to check the docket.
Serve? Does that mean it cannot be mailed to me nor can she personally give it to me? My girls are with her this weekend and she is bringing them home tomorrow. Can she hand deliver the papers to me?
The petition can be personally served or mailed to you. She should not be able to personally serve you because she's a party to the action - it would need to be served by a person that isn't a party.
Is there anything that I can do to pre-empt the strike so to speak? It is very difficult to just wait especially since she has my girls asking me to let them go live with her. At there current ages, will the Judge ask them where they want to live? If so, how much weight will it carry? I want my girls to stay with me.
Really, there's nothing you can do but wait and see if she did file something.
Yes, the judge will consider what the children want, but it is not outcome determinative - it is up to the judge to decide how much weight to give to the desires of the children.
Thank you so much. You have given me enough information that maybe I can sleep tonight. Bless you!!
Glad to help. I hope everything turns out well.
I have found out she is going to claim that I live in a bad neighborhood. What do I have to do to show my neighborhood is safe? She also says my county has poor schools. I do not know how to combat that.
Neither of these things are outcome-determinative to change custody. Also, there's no proof that her home is safer or that her school district is better than yours. That's pure speculation.
If you're in court in your home county, the judge is going to know how safe your neighborhood is and how good the schools are.
Also, you can claim that it is still in your child's best interest to stay with you even if these things were true.
I have an occasional drink but never when I have the girls. Is that something that can be held against me?
Unless you've been convicted of a crime involving alcohol, or unless there's some evidence that you have an abuse problem, this should not be held against you.
,Thank you ... when my daughter called me and told me she wanted to live with her Mom I was so upset. She told her Mom and of course her Mom told her I was probably drunk but I was not. My little girls do not even know what being drunk is. That had to come from the Mother. I never even have a single drink around my girls. I did get a DUI in 1999 but nothing since.
No problem. I wish you luck with getting this resolved.
Do you have any suggestions for me? Anything I should take with me to court, any information that I need to accumalate??? Please tell me anything that you think will help. We have a court hearing on Aug 20th.
First, you need to look at the motion and see what she claims and then amass evidence to disprove the claims made by the mother. If you have questions about the claims made, let me know.
Thanks but just forget it. I forgot that I would be charged for any future questions.
No problem. Just let me know if you need something else.
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