Bivek, Brubaker & Prescott - Marietta family law and divorce attorneys

Child Custody and a Move: How to Do it Right

One of the hardest tasks for a divorcing couple with children is creating a parenting plan that works best for the kids. You and your child custody attorneys have to think of and account for every detail, creating a schedule that maps out where the kids will spend school days, weekends, holidays, and vacations. It will include contact arrangements and even drop-off specifics.

Once you and your ex-partner agree on the plan, it’s subject to change only every two years, and even then, only under major, life-changing circumstances.

Can a parent take a child out of state without the other parent’s consent?

But all of that planning can go out the window if one parent decides to move. In Georgia, the parent planning to move has to give his or her ex-partner 30 days notice of any address change. If it’s a move across town, nothing usually changes with scheduling.

However, what happens if the distance is great enough to affect the custody arrangement, such as a move out of state or even out of the country? If the other parent contests the move, the change will require court approval and the creation of a new parenting plan.

What will the court look for?

The court won’t automatically assume the move is good or bad, even if it involves a new job or a relocation to be closer to family. Instead, the court will look at a number of factors, making a decision on a case-by-case basis in an attempt to do what’s best for the kids involved. Some of the factors the court might consider include:

If the child is 14 or older, he or she will be able to make the decision to move or not independently, so long as the court doesn’t find the child’s choice of parent unfit. But the court will also consider the opinions of younger children when making its decision.

If the court approves the move, what then? In many cases of Marietta child custody, the court will recommend modifying child support to allow for travel expenses and the cost of visits.

How to do it right

Obviously, any decision to move is a big one, whether it’s for work, new opportunities, or to be closer to family. But if kids and custody plans are involved, it takes an extra amount of thought and planning to do it right. It’s up to the custodial parent who’s moving to prove the move is worth the disruption. Relocation without any clear goal likely won’t be approved if the child has a good relationship with both parents at home.  

If you’re considering a move, speak to a Marietta custody lawyer early. It can be an incredibly emotional and tricky prospect, and discussing options early can help smooth the way to an amicable agreement, ideally avoiding litigation. If your ex-partner has already proposed a move you don’t approve of, speak to a lawyer right away. You’ll want to protect your parenting rights by showing the move is not in your kids’ best interest.

As Marietta child custody lawyers, we have years of experience helping our clients work out custody agreements and parenting plans that work best for the kids. At Bivek Brubaker & Prescott, you will work with one of our highly qualified partners, not a junior associate. If you’re considering a move, or your ex-partner has notified you of a planned move, contact our Marietta child custody attorneys or call 404-793-6530.

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