In today’s mobile society, moving from one state to another is very common. Relocation can significantly impact a child’s custody arrangement, whether due to a job change or a desire to be closer to family.
Whether you need to change cities or states or want to challenge your co-parent’s intended move, a skilled Alpharetta relocation lawyer at our firm is ready to assist you. Our firm’s seasoned child custody attorneys are experienced in relocation law and can help you navigate the legal process.
The state’s relocation laws are complex, and a parent considering moving with their child should understand that they cannot unilaterally change a custody order or agreement. To successfully relocate your child, you must first obtain either the other parent’s consent or permission from the court. A practiced lawyer can prepare and submit the necessary petition to relocate with the proper court.
Additionally, while a judge cannot prevent a parent from moving, they can prohibit them from moving their child. Once either parent files a pleading to modify the existing custody arrangement, a court may issue a temporary order, known as an injunction. This order would prohibit either parent from relocating the child until the court renders a final decision.
When evaluating a child relocation case, a court will consider the child’s best interests. Accordingly, while a parent may have many good reasons for moving, a judge will consider them only as they relate to the child’s needs. For example, a parent may benefit by relocating to another state to live with a new spouse. However, the court’s only concern is whether the move is good for the child.
A parent who wants to relocate with their child must notify the other parent at least 30 days before the intended move. If that parent consents, the parties may submit a proposed order to the court defining the new custody arrangement. If a judge determines that the parents’ plan is in the child’s best interests, they will approve it and issue a modified custody order, allowing the moving parent to relocate with their child.
If the other parent objects, the moving parent cannot relocate with the child until a judge approves a request to modify custody. A parent’s failure to properly notify their co-parent could result in denial of the relocation request. It is therefore best to seek counsel from a knowledgeable relocation attorney before attempting to move out-of-state with a child.
After a judge issues a custody order, a parent may seek to modify it if a material or substantial change in circumstances affecting their child’s best interests has occurred. Moving a child away from their school, friends, and the other parent can significantly impact their well-being. Accordingly, state law considers a parent’s intention to relocate with their child to be a substantial change that may warrant a modified custody schedule.
In a relocation case, both parties will likely present a substantial amount of information to the judge. In weighing this evidence, the court must consider the statutory factors, including but not limited to:
Another essential consideration is the child’s preference. Under Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-9-3, if the child is 14 years or older, they can decide which parent they want to live with. As long as that preference serves their best interests, a judge must respect their decision.
Child relocation can be highly emotional, as one parent risks losing quality time with their child. Any parent facing a relocation case should discuss the facts of their case with a capable lawyer in Alpharetta.
Disputes may arise when a custodial parent wants to move with their child to another county or even out of state. A seasoned Alpharetta relocation lawyer understands that these matters can be challenging for all parties involved. Our firm’s respected legal team represents custodial and non-custodial parents in Alpharetta and the surrounding areas and can answer your child relocation questions, so call today.