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We live in a mobile society where it is not uncommon for parents to relocate. Job transfers, family commitments in other states, and remarriage are common reasons parents in Cumming may need to move. However, when the relocating parent wants to take their child with them, they may find themselves in a complex legal battle.

Whether you want to relocate or object to your child’s other parent moving, seek counsel from an experienced Cumming relocation lawyer. Our legal team is highly experienced in move-away cases and is well-equipped to assert and defend your position in family court.

Important Considerations for Relocating Parents

While the laws governing relocation are quite complex, some basic principles hold true in most cases. First and perhaps foremost, a judge cannot prevent a parent from moving. However, the court can prohibit a parent from relocating their child against the other parent’s wishes.

Second, regardless of the reasons for the proposed move, a family court judge must evaluate the relocating parent’s request based on the child’s best interests. As such, no matter how beneficial the relocation might be for the moving parent or how justified the other parent may be in objecting to the move, a judge must prioritize the child’s needs above all else.

Third, a parent cannot unilaterally revise or disregard a custody or parenting time agreement based on relocation. If a parent wants to move and changing residences will impact the existing custody order’s terms, that parent must petition to modify custody before relocating. A seasoned Cumming attorney can explain the process to legally relocate a child out of state.

What Factors do Judges Consider in Relocation Cases?

If a parent wishes to move out of state with their child, a family court judge may consider several factors when deciding the case. Some of these factors include:

  • The child’s relationship with the noncustodial parent;
  • The custodial parent’s reasons for moving;
  • The impact of the move on the existing custody arrangement;
  • The child’s connection to their school, friends, and social community;
  • How the move will negatively or positively affect the child;
  • The impact of the move on the child’s relationship with extended family;
  • How the move will affect the child’s contact with the non-relocating parent; and
  • Any other factors the court deems relevant.

A judge may also consider the child’s preference, depending on their age. Under Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-9-3(a)(5), a child over the age of 14 can sign an election affidavit to move with the relocating parent if they wish.

Seeking Permission to Move in a Cumming Family Court

If a custodial parent intends to relocate with their child, they must notify the other parent and any person with court-ordered visitation rights in writing within 30 days of the proposed moving date. If the non-relocating parent objects, a judge can issue an order preventing the child’s move until a final evidentiary hearing. If a judge believes that the child should not move away, they may grant primary custody to the non-relocating parent.

If the non-custodial parent agrees with the move, the parties can submit a revised parenting plan demonstrating the custody and visitation arrangements that will go into effect once the relocation occurs. The new plan can address issues such as telephone and email contact and payment of the transportation costs for visitation. If a judge finds that the modified terms are in the child’s best interests, they will likely grant the relocation request.

The legal process for gaining permission to move or blocking a co-parent’s proposed move is complex. An untimely petition or objection could result in unintended consequences for parents and their children. A parent facing relocation issues is well-advised to consult a capable attorney as soon as a move is considered or proposed.

Talk to a Dedicated Attorney in Cumming about Relocation

When one parent chooses to move away, that decision can be difficult for everyone involved. Depending on the court’s ruling, one parent stands to lose their ability to relocate, and the other risks losing day-to-day contact with their child.

A caring Cumming relocation lawyer can guide you through the legal maze of move-away cases. Our caring legal team understands the complexities of relocation and is prepared to aggressively advocate your position in court. We can also help you modify custody if the move necessitates a change in your parenting plan. Call today to learn more.

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