How Relocations Affect Child Custody in Georgia
The choice of a custodial parent to move away with his/her children has ramifications for everyone concerned. It can make visitation more difficult and impact the children’s connection with the non-custodial parent dramatically too. Because a court must determine all custody and visitation decisions for the betterment of the kid, Georgia’s child custody relocation statutes are specific about the measures a parent must follow before moving if the court permits it.
Notice of Relocation
A custodial parent who wants to move with his/her children in Georgia need to provide the non-custodial parent with a written notice at least 30 days before the relocation date. If that parent agrees, the parents need to file the agreement with the court, which will almost always accept the change immediately.
What happens when there is no mutual consent?
When the non-custodial parent refuses to consent, he/she can file a petition for a custody modification hearing, which allows the court to assess the scenario and make a decision. If the court believes that shifting custody is beneficial for young children, it may — but not always — decide in favour of the petitioning parent.
The onus is on the custodial parents to persuade a court that the transfer is legal and would benefit the kid(s). The court may allow the petition if this parent can show that the relocation is in the best interests of the kid(s).
What are the factors considered by the Court?
When reviewing relocation applications, courts must consider a number of factors. The following are a handful of the most well-known:
- Both petitioners’ genuine motivations
- Whether or not the parents’ relationship dynamic is cordial
- In their current parenting plans, if both parents discussed the problem.
- The influence on the children’s friendships and schooling, as well as their social links
- The risk of the children’s connection with the non-custodial parent being harmed
- Whether the transfer improves the children’s level of living and provides them with new chances.
Things to remember
Revisions can include changes in drop-off/pick-up locations as well as a set decrease in child support payments to cover increased travel costs, such as for flights, if the children are travelling from another state or the non-custodial parent needs to travel to see the kids, among other things. Whether the parties consent to these conditions or whether the court orders them, is determined by the nature and circumstances of the particular.
A common query for many people if the kid(s) actually have a say on this subject. Based on the age of the kid(s), they may be allowed to sign an affidavit declaring that they do not want to go away and would rather live with the parent who stays “at home.” A kid who is 14 years old or older can choose who he wants to live with under Georgia law, although the court may also regard the wishes of a kid as old as 11.
Child custody relocation cases may be quite intense, and several of them end up in court. If you are a custodial parent thinking of relocating, or a non-custodial parent worried that your ex’s moving would harm your kids and your relationship with them, it is imperative that you know your rights.