Is it Possible to Relocate with Children After the Divorce?
If divorced parents have a custody and visitation agreement in place, both parties must comply with the terms and conditions of the court-ordered arrangement. However, what happens if one of the parents wants to move a child out of state? Is it possible to relocate with children after the divorce?
While relocating with children is possible, the moving parent must comply with notification requirements and seek approval from the court. Moving out of state or area with the children requires a clear understanding of the law and your particular circumstances.
Noreen Banks-Ware, the founding attorney at E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm LLC, helps clients navigate complex family law matters, including relocation-related ones. Attorney Banks-Ware represents both sides of the issue: parents seeking to relocate with children and parents objecting to the other parent’s move. From her office in Lithonia, Georgia, Noreen Banks-Ware serves clients throughout the state of Georgia, including Covington, Conyers, Decatur, McDonough, and Lawrenceville.
Relocating with Your Child in Georgia
A parent’s potential relocation with children to another state or country can affect everyone involved, including children and the non-moving parent. Moving out of state can make the other parent’s visitation impossible.
That is why Georgia and other states impose strict requirements for relocating with children. Courts in Georgia consider the child’s best interests and a number of factors when determining whether the proposed relocation should be permitted. The moving parent has the burden of convincing the judge that the proposed relocation would be in the child’s best interests.
If the judge grants the moving parent permission to relocate with the children, it may be necessary to change the existing visitation and child support arrangements. For example, a modified child support order should account for the transportation expenses the non-custodial parent would incur to see the kids after the relocation.
If the non-custodial parent does not object to the move, the parents can reach an agreement on the custody and visitation arrangements. Often, parents may need the assistance of a skilled family law attorney to help them agree upon changes after the relocation.
Georgia law requires the parent who wants to relocate with a child after the divorce to submit written notice to the non-moving parent at least 30 days before the planned relocation. What happens after the non-custodial parent receives the notification of intent to relocate depends on whether the parent consents to the move:
- If the non-custodial parent does not object to the proposed relocation, the parents can draft an agreement and submit it to the court. The court will then have to approve the relocation and proposed changes to child support, custody, and visitation arrangements.
- If the non-custodial parent does not consent to the proposed relocation, that parent can file an objection to the relocation, asking the court to prevent the other parent from relocating with the children. The court will consider whether or not the move would be in the child’s best interests before approving or denying the parent’s request for relocation.
Factors the Court Will Consider
Courts in Georgia look at a wide range of factors when considering whether or not a proposed relocation would be in the child’s best interests. When reviewing a parent’s request for relocation, the court will also consider the parent’s reasoning behind the proposed move to decide whether or not to approve the request. Some of the factors that may affect the court’s decision include:
- The reason for the move;
- The child’s relationship with the non-moving parent;
- The child’s age;
- The effect of the proposed move on the child’s well-being and stability; and
- Whether the move would make it too burdensome for the non-custodial parent to visit the child in another state or country.
In Georgia, judges consider a child’s wishes in custody and relocation determinations as long as the child is at least 11 years of age, while children aged 14 or older have a right to choose the parent with whom they want to live.
Legal Guidance for Your Family
Whether you are the parent who wants to relocate with children after the divorce or the parent who objects to the other parent’s move, you need the experienced legal guidance of a trusted child custody lawyer. Noreen Banks-Ware proudly serves clients in Lithonia and throughout the state of Georgia and helps parents relocate with their children or fight the other parent’s request for relocation. Schedule a consultation with attorney Banks-Ware to discuss your specific case.