The unfortunate reality of divorce is that if the couple has kids, it’s the children that tend to suffer the most from divorce. When parents divorce, they may choose to live close enough to ensure the child has to undergo the least possible changes. However, in some cases this is either not an option or the parent just wants to leave the area for some other reason.
Sometimes it’s malicious, sometimes it’s necessary. Understanding your rights can be essential through this difficult process.
Georgia Laws on Relocation
The state website has a lot of information for parents who are curious about the process of child custody in Georgia. Sometime before 2003, the parent that had primary custody would be able to move wherever they wanted unless the non-custodial parent could prove that this move would be detrimental to the mental, physical, or emotional well-being of the child. The Georgia Supreme Court overturned this in 2003, stating that the judges needed to decide if relocation was in the best interest of the child. The judge will carefully look at the circumstances in each particular case without just allowing the child to move or transfer custody of the child.
The biggest part of this is that the parent has to show the reasons why they want to relocate with their child. The relocating parents must have a valid reason for moving, such as a job opportunity or if they want to live closer to their family. If the parent doesn’t have a plan or can’t explain their reason for moving, the judge will likely rule against the plan. It’s important to know that just because you have valid reasons for moving and it does potentially benefit the child, the judge won’t necessarily approve.
When Relocation Matters
If the parent is just moving across the city or within a close distance, this relocation isn’t a major deal as the other parent’s parenting time won’t be impacted. The problem comes when one parent wants to move to another state or some other far distance that could impact the other parent’s time with their child.
The point is that the child should always come first in these matters. This is important because it helps to prevent parents from missing out on bonding time with their children and prevents bitter exes from using their children for malicious reasons against their ex. The reality of relocation is while it could potentially be in the best interest of the child, there are many other factors to consider. Relocation can have a significant impact on the child’s routine and can cause serious stress for the child.
What You Can Do
Talking to a lawyer that specializes in these complex matters can be essential to letting you know what your rights are as a parent. Whether you are the relocating parent or the non-custodial parent, you do have rights in these matters. It’s important to discuss your options with an attorney, including what steps the non-custodial parent can take to keep their children close to them.