Atlanta can be a great place to live, but sometimes people want or need to move away, for a job offer, an educational opportunity, a new love or just for a change of scenery. For many people, moving requires little more than packing and renting a truck. For parents who are sharing custody of a child, things are a lot harder.
When one parent moves a long distance away, it can wreak havoc with a child custody arrangement. If the child is moving along with the parent, it may place a great burden on the other parent's rights to visitation. If the parents have a shared custody arrangement in which the child alternates living with each parent part of the time, then one parent's relocation can destroy that arrangement.
Courts have to give their approval to child custody arrangements based upon their interpretation of the best interests of the child. They must do the same for any modification to the custody arrangement.
Factors the court considers in making these decisions include the distance of the move, the reason for the move, the child's age, how the move will affect relations between the child and both parents and, for older children, the child's wishes. Still, the most important factor is the best interests of the child.
When both parents consent to the move, courts generally do not interfere. When there is a dispute over relocation, these can be some of the most difficult cases in family law. An experienced Georgia family law can help parents to craft a child custody modification that meets their needs but keeps the child's needs front and center.
Source: Huffington Post, "In the Child's Best Interest: What It Means in Move-Away Case," Lisa Helfend Meyer, Feb. 12, 2014