Posted by Macon Divorce Attorney Selinda Handsford
The United States Constitution prohibits the courts from ordering a parent to remain within the state. With that said, the courts have great discretion to consider where each parent lives to grant primary physical custody to one parent over another.
A parent can petition the court for a change in custody whenever there is a significant change in familial circumstances. If the custodial parent is moving out of the state then that is grounds for the other parent to petition the court for a modification of custody. The non-custodial parent can petition the court and ask that the current custody order be modified and grant that parent primary physical or sole custody so that the child can remain in the state with the parent.
When considering a request for a change of custody, the courts look to what is in the best interest of the child. While the court will definitely consider the anticipated move of the custodial parent, the court will also look to other factors including:
(A) The love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child;
(B) The love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties existing between the child and his or her siblings, half siblings, and stepsiblings and the residence of such other children;
(C) The capacity and disposition of each parent to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and rearing of the child;
(D) Each parent’s knowledge and familiarity of the child and the child’s needs;
(E) The capacity and disposition of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, day-to-day needs, and other necessary basic care, with consideration made for the potential payment of child support by the other parent;
(F) The home environment of each parent considering the promotion of nurturance and safety of the child rather than superficial or material factors;
(G) The importance of continuity in the child’s life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity;
(H) The stability of the family unit of each of the parents and the presence or absence of each parent’s support systems within the community to benefit the child;
(I) The mental and physical health of each parent;
(J) Each parent’s involvement, or lack thereof, in the child’s educational, social, and extracurricular activities;
(K) Each parent’s employment schedule and the related flexibility or limitations, if any, of a parent to care for the child;
(L) The home, school, and community record and history of the child, as well as any health or educational special needs of the child;
(M) Each parent’s past performance and relative abilities for future performance of parenting responsibilities;
(N) The willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent, consistent with the best interest of the child;
(O) Any recommendation by a court appointed custody evaluator or guardian ad litem;
(P) Any evidence of family violence or sexual, mental, or physical child abuse or criminal history of either parent; and
(Q) Any evidence of substance abuse by either parent. O.C.G.A. § 19-9-3.
As you can see, the courts look to a number of factors when making a ruling on custody that is in the best interest of the child. A misstep in the legal process or in presenting your evidence at trial can have a lasting impact on you and your family. You and your children deserve an experienced divorce and family law attorney when dealing with custody matters. Contact Macon Divorce Attorney, Selinda D. Handsford, for your consultation at 478-750-9006.
The above is for general information only and is not legal advice.
Handsford Law PC
Macon Divorce Attorney Selinda D. Handsford | firstname.lastname@example.org | 743 Walnut Street, Suite 102, Macon, GA 31201