After the custody battle is over and visitation is established, that does not mean that a couple will never have a disagreement again. Once parents begin following their court ordered visitation schedule, problems that were not previously considered often come up. A common question that one or both parents will find themselves asking is who pays for visitation expenses? While a couple living in the same city or state may not have concerns about travel expenses, if one or both parent moves to another state, visitation could become expensive. Knowing who is responsible for paying these costs is an important part of planning child visitation-related travel.
View Your Agreement
Before contacting the other parent, always review your custody and visitation agreement first, either by yourself or with the help of an attorney. Travel expenses are usually addressed in the custody and visitation agreement. However, if living or traveling arrangements have recently changed, then visitation related expenses may not be adequately covered or may no longer be appropriate.
In Georgia, the noncustodial parent is typically responsible for paying for visitation and scheduled parenting time-related travel. If either parent moves a significant distance away from the other with the court’s permission, the noncustodial parent is usually still responsible for the expense. The exact details regarding financial responsibility for visitation should be included in your parenting plan or custody arrangement. When nothing is addressed, then it is possible to update your plan or simply work with your former partner regarding an affordable alternative.
Georgia does allow deviations specifically for travel expenses. While these deviations are not mandatory, they do give both parents a way to deal with travel expenses in a non-confrontational manner. When a noncustodial parent must travel a substantial distance to visit children, he or she may receive a reduction in child support. For example, a parent living in California who would normally pay $800.00 per month in child support may receive a downward deviation reducing the child support obligation to $600.00 per month so he or she they can afford to continue visiting the child residing in Georgia.
However, these deviations are not mandatory and the court may refuse to include the deviation in the final court order. The court may refuse to include the deviation in the final court order if it is considered inappropriate, unjust, or could impair the custodial parent’s ability to financially support the child. Also, failing to visit the child on a regular basis could lead to a modification request to increase child support that was previously lowered to allow the noncustodial parent to visit the child.
Talk to an Attorney
The best way to address any questions about visitation-related expenses is to talk to an attorney. Attempting to obtain a modification on your own could lead to multiple problems especially if the court feels that you created an unnecessary problem by choosing to move away from your child. The child custody and visitation attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are prepared to give you the legal advice necessary to get your travel expense-related issues resolved. With offices located throughout the Atlanta, Georgia metro area we are ready to provide you the representation you deserve. Contact us today at 678-736-7700 to schedule a consultation.