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Relocation concerns: child custody hearings and emotions

A divorced parent who is considering moving away from a non-custodial parent may face a difficult legal battle. In some cases, the non-custodial parent will be in agreement with a planned move, but one author points out that even these cases can be difficult for the child and parents. Prior to attempting a relocation, custodial parents in Georgia may want to consider possible outcomes and have an idea of what to expect.

The possibility of a child custody hearing tops the list created by this author. If the non-custodial parents contests the move, a family court will make a determination based on the best interests of the child. Motivations for the move may be scrutinized, and the parent may have to prove to the court that the benefits of the move outweigh any negative effects on the child.

The author states that the emotional impact on everyone involved is also an important consideration. Beyond the hostile environment potentially created by a child custody dispute, the parent may have to deal with unexpected negative emotions. Even when a move makes sense in economic or environmental terms, the parent will possibly face lingering feelings of guilt over what he or she could come to see as a selfish decision.

Relocation hearings have a tendency to become complex due in part to the emotions of the participants. On one hand, the custodial parent may be faced with the potential for dramatic improvement in his or her economic and emotional situation, which could be interpreted as benefits for the child. On the other hand, the non-custodial parent's relationship with the child is often central to the concerns of all participants to the decision. For parents anticipating a move or wanting to challenge a relocation effort, an attorney with experience in family law may be able to help gather evidence and present the case.

Source: The Huffington Post, "6 Things to Expect and Consider When Relocating with Children After Divorce", Andrea Moore, December 18, 2013

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