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Can custodial parents move out of town with their children?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | Child Custody

Divorce is a major life event, often especially for parents of minor children. As they move forward with their new life, it may become evident that a physical move might be required. While this is easy for a single person, it becomes more complex when children are involved.

The process is typically simpler when a parent plans to move within the same general area. They must inform the other parent about the move. This notification should include the new address and any changes to the visitation schedule that may result from the relocation. Open communication and cooperation between parents can help facilitate a smoother transition for the children.

Long-distance moves

An parent intending to move far away must give the other parent notice before the relocation. This should be in writing and include the new address, the reasons for the move and a proposed revised parenting time schedule, but further steps are necessary.

A long-distance move often necessitates modifications to the existing custody arrangement. The parent who isn’t relocating may file a petition to modify custody or parenting time based on the move. The court will then evaluate whether the move is in the best interest of the child, considering factors such as:

  • The child’s relationship with both parents
  • The potential impact on the child’s education and social life
  • The reasons for the move
  • The feasibility of maintaining a meaningful relationship with the non-relocating parent

In Georgia, the primary concern in custody matters is the best interest of the child. The court will consider how the move will affect the child’s overall well-being, stability and continuity. Both parents should be prepared to present evidence supporting their positions regarding the move and how it serves the child’s best interest.

Working with a legal representative who’s familiar with moves involving a custody matter as a factor can be beneficial in such cases. This can enable each parent to ensure they’re handling every aspect of the move-related situation appropriately. All the required legal steps should be handled prior to the actual move, so this isn’t something that can be decided on the spur of the moment.

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