One of the most challenging tasks for a divorcing couple with children is creating a parenting plan that works best for the kids. You and your Cobb County child custody attorney have to think of and account for every detail, including creating a schedule that clearly indicates where the kids will spend school days, non-school days, weekends, holidays, and what to do about vacations. It can include details about babysitters, alcohol use, drop off and pick up locations, and how to handle extra-curricular activities.
Once you and your ex-partner agree on the plan, it’s not easy to modify it so it’s important to get as many details right as you can. Parenting plans can be modified when there is a substantial change in circumstances, or two years after any prior modifications. When you are able to file for a modification is an important question to ask a Marietta Child Custody Attorney.
All of your careful planning can go out the window if one parent decides to move. In Georgia, the language of your parenting plan controls. We often put provisions in parenting plans that require that the moving parent has to give his or her ex-partner 30 days notice of any address change. If it’s a move not very far away, the parenting plan may still be feasible to operate “as is”.
However, what happens if the distance is great enough to affect the custody arrangement, such as a move out of the county, state or even out of the country? Once a moving parent gives notice, the other parent can contest in the Court whether or not the child should be allowed to move. If the other parent contests the move, the Court can prevent the moving parent from taking the child until there is a ruling on a new parenting plan. If you are worried about a parent moving or have received notice of a move, it is important to consult with the best Georgia Child Custody attorney as soon as possible.
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:
The relationship the child has with each parent
The living arrangements provided by each parent
Each parent’s ability to provide for the family
The child’s school life, extracurricular activity involvement, and support by extended family or community
If the child is 14 or older, he or she will have a voice in the decision to move or not independently, so long as the court doesn’t find the child’s choice is the product of undue or inappropriate influence. 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 in Cobb County child custody, the court will recommend modifying child support to allow for travel expenses and the cost of visits and could change the schedule to allow for more weekend or holiday time for a parent who might be losing some weekday time because of the move. In some Cobb County child custody cases, they will not allow the child to move, because of how it impacts the other parents relationship with the child.
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 404-889-8320.