Atlanta, GA Relocation Lawyer

A custodial parent’s desire to relocate with their children could trigger a contentious dispute between the parents. Even if the parent who stays behind agrees to relocation, it is essential to consult a skilled family attorney to learn your rights.

Relocation could affect a parent’s relationship with their children and have a significant financial impact. An Atlanta relocation lawyer has the knowledge and skill to represent either parent in a relocation dispute and work to preserve their family’s best interests.

Relocation During the Divorce

Sometimes, a parent wants to relocate before a divorce is final. If Georgia courts have not issued a final custody order, both parents have equal rights to the children. In this situation, a parent could move if the other parent agreed to the relocation.

If you wish to move and the other parent objects, you could petition the family court for a temporary custody order. However, even if the judge grants a temporary custody order allowing relocation, it remains in effect only until the court issues a final order. This means there is the potential to have to return the children to the area soon after the move.

An Atlanta, GA attorney can help individuals negotiate a relocation plan that includes access to the children for both parents.

Relocating Parent’s Obligations Post-Divorce

After a divorce, a custodial parent who plans to move the children out of state must notify the other parent and anyone with visitation rights, such as grandparents. The custodial parent must give this notice at least 30 days before they plan to move.

If the non-custodial parent agrees to relocation, the parents must put their agreement in writing and have it notarized. They must file this agreement with Georgia courts for approval. Parents also should consider the impact the move might have on child support if the paying parent must travel to see the children or arrange for them to travel. They could amend their parenting plan accordingly.

If the non-custodial parent objects to the move, they could ask a court to consider the matter. A judge cannot prevent a parent from moving, but they could prevent the parent from moving with the children. An Atlanta, GA attorney representing a parent at a relocation hearing can present compelling evidence supporting their position.

How Judges Decide Relocation Issues

The parent who wants to relocate must prove that doing so would benefit the children. They must also demonstrate that the desire to relocate is not a means of limiting the other parent’s access to the children.

A judge will consider the children’s best interests when deciding on relocation. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 19-9-3 lists 17 factors a court could look into when determining the children’s best interests, including the:

  • Age of the children (older children’s opinions about moving might carry significant weight);
  • Quality of the children’s relationship with the parent staying behind;
  • Stability of each parent’s home;
  • Children’s relationships in school and the community;
  • Each parent’s familiarity with each child’s needs and ability to meet them;
  • Both parents’ mental and physical health;
  • Recommendations of a Guardian ad Litem or other court-appointed evaluator.

The family court also could consider the change the move would make to the child’s standard of living, whether the move would put the child closer to extended family, how it would impact their education, and similar factors.

If the judge decides relocation benefits the children, the court will modify the parenting plan to allow the parent who stays behind to retain significant time with them. If the judge decides moving is not in the children’s best interest, the court might modify the plan to transfer primary custody to the other parent. A trusted Atlanta, GA attorney can help families understand the full scope of what is considered when determining a child’s best interests.

Consult With an Atlanta, GA Attorney about Custodial Parent Relocation Issues

Reach out to our firm if you or your co-parent are considering relocating with the children. Whether the two of you agree on relocation or not, you should learn about your rights and how to protect them.

An Atlanta, GA relocation lawyer can help you achieve the result you desire. Schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable member of our team today.

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