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A parent’s decision to move out of state with their children can significantly affect their custody schedule. In addition to complicating visitation for the non-custodial parent, relocation can dramatically impact a child’s schooling, social relationships, and mental health.

State law allows for a Petition of a Change of Custody from the Non-locating parent, at the very least a modification of parenting time is necessary. Whether you want to move with your children or prevent your ex’s proposed move, a Crabapple relocation lawyer at our firm can assist you. Our dedicated custody attorneys are well-versed in the state’s relocation laws and can help you build the strongest case for, or against, your children’s relocation.

Judges in Crabapple Must Consider a Child’s Best Interests

In any case involving child custody or visitation, a judge must base their decision on what is in the child’s best interests. Under Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-9-3, a judge may consider many factors when determining a child’s best interests, including but not limited to:

  • The child’s safety and welfare;
  • The love and bonding between the child, their siblings, and each parent;
  • Each parent’s willingness and ability to care for the child;
  • The child’s ties to the community, including church, school, and friends;
  • Each parent’s home environment; and
  • Any history of family violence or substance abuse in either parent’s home.

Georgia is also among a handful of states that allow children aged 14 or older to decide which parent they want to live with, which could be a critical factor in a parent’s request to relocate. A skilled relocation attorney can explain the impact of these factors and a child’s wishes on a court’s final decision.

A Relocating Parent Must Prove a Material Change in Circumstances

In the past, Georgia courts presumed that a custodial parent’s decision to relocate was in their child’s best interests. However, the law has changed, and a judge must now decide each case based on its unique set of facts. Accordingly, a parent should consult with an experienced Crabapple attorney as soon as they or their ex contemplate relocating.

Providing Notification of Intent to Relocate

State law requires that a parent who wishes to relocate with their children must provide notice of their intent to move to the other parent, as well as any family members who have court-ordered visitation rights. This notice must be in writing and be given at least 30 days prior to the proposed moving date. If the non-custodial parent consents, the parties may file a parenting plan detailing any changes in custody or visitation due to the relocation. If the non-custodial parent does not agree with the move, either parent may file a petition to modify custody.

In a final relocation hearing, a judge could permit the custodial parent to relocate with the children, award the non-custodial parent custody, or modify the existing custody order to address the child’s new circumstances. The parent intending to move has the burden of proving to the court that the relocation will benefit the child. A knowledgeable relocation lawyer in Crabapple can explain how best to meet that burden of proof.

Reach out to a Crabapple Child Relocation Attorney to Learn More

Child relocation cases can be legally and emotionally challenging. Whether relocation appears to be best option for you and your children or your ex wants to move with your kids and you disagree, it is imperative to know your rights. To learn more about your legal options, schedule a consultation with an experienced Crabapple relocation lawyer at our firm today.

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