You’re right to be concerned if your ex-spouse is trying relocate with your child. After all, increasing the physical distance between you and your child can have a tremendous impact on your relationship with that child. It can become harder to have in-person visitation and scheduling time for phone contact may be challenging. It can be difficult to stay involved in your child’s life by attending school functions, birthday parties, and other milestone life events.
So the question is what can you do about it? Under Georgia law, a parent who is seeking to relocate with the child must provide notice to the child’s other parent. This will give you the opportunity to object to the relocation. After you object, the court should schedule the matter for a hearing where legal arguments will be presented. This means you need to be equipped with the evidence and arguments needed to support why relocation is not in the child’s best interests.
When assessing whether relocation is appropriate, the court will consider a number of factors. One of the most important is the relationship the child has with each parent. If the child doesn’t have much of a bond with the parent he or she is moving away from, then a court may be more likely to approve the move.
But other factors are considered, too. The needs of the child and how the move will affect his or her physical, educational, and emotional development are of concern, and so, too, is the likelihood that the child will be able to maintain his or her relationship with the parent he or she is moving away from. Any history of abuse or neglect by either parent will be taken into account, as well as how the relocation will improve or diminish the child’s overall quality of life. Georgia law pertaining to parental relocation even has a catch-all provision that allows a court to consider any other factors that it deems pertinent to making a decision in furtherance of the child’s best interests.
There’s a lot at stake in these matters, and there’s certainly a lot of room for argument. So, you should take a close look at every aspect of your child, his or her needs, the purpose and effect of the move, and how the relocation will affect your relationship with the child. The key is to keep in mind that the court will base its decision on what is in alignment with the child’s best interests.