ELLINGTON, P. J., BETHEL, J., and SENIOR APPELLATE JUDGE
Phipps, Senior Appellate Judge.
custody dispute between biological parents who never married,
the issues before this Court arise out of the mother's
decision to move from Georgia to New York with the child. For
the reasons below, we hold that the trial court did not err
in determining custody but that a portion of the award
related to child support must be vacated and remanded for
record shows that on July 15, 2016, Dwayne Woodson filed a
petition for legitimation and custody in which he alleged
that Maxine Lino had indicated that she was moving to New
York and taking their child, who was born out of wedlock in
2008. Woodson prayed that Lino not be allowed to leave
Georgia, that Woodson be legitimated, and that he be granted
joint legal and primary physical custody of the child.
Woodson requested an emergency hearing due to the fact that
the Georgia school year was about to begin. On August 4,
following an emergency ex parte hearing, the court ordered
that the child be returned to Georgia, if he had been
removed, and that the child be enrolled in school in Atlanta.
Lino moved to set aside the August 4 order on the grounds
that she had not been served with notice of the hearing. She
also answered, admitted that Woodson was the father, admitted
that the child resided with her in New York, and
counterclaimed for child support and attorney fees. Woodson
countered with a motion for a finding that Lino was in
contempt of the August 4 order prohibiting her from removing
the child from Georgia.
court held a hearing on August 17, 2016, and entered an order
that day in which the court noted that the parties had agreed
to vacate the August 4 order. Further, the court declared the
child to be the legitimate child of Woodson. And the court
found that the mother had the legal right to move with the
child because the father had not previously legitimated the
child. See OCGA § 19-7-25 (mother may exercise all
parental power where child born out of wedlock has not been
legitimated). The court awarded the parties joint legal
custody and made temporary physical custody decisions pending
a final hearing. A guardian ad litem was appointed.
final hearing was conducted on March 21, 2017, following
which the court issued a final order on "Legitimation,
Custody, and Child Support" and a "Final Parenting
Plan." In the final order and plan, the court found,
among other things, that based on the factors defined in OCGA
§ 19-9-3, the parties would share joint legal custody
with the mother having primary physical custody. The court
ordered the mother to relocate to Georgia and ordered the
father to pay the mother's relocations costs, including a
security deposit and three months' housing costs. The
court also required the father to bear the cost of airfare
and lodging for the mother to travel to Atlanta to secure
housing. And the court ordered the mother to secure
employment and begin paying for her own housing by the fourth
month. Based on a finding that the father earned over $10,
000 a month whereas the mother earned approximately $1, 250
per month, the court ordered the father to pay child support.
Woodson appeals from the court's order. Lino did not file
a cross appeal.
Woodson first contends that the trial court committed plain
legal error by failing to apply the law as articulated by the
Supreme Court of Georgia in Bodne v. Bodne, 277 Ga.
445 (588 S.E.2d 728) (2003). We disagree.
§ 19-9-3 provides that the duty of a judge in a custody
case "shall be to exercise discretion to look to and
determine solely what is for the best interest of the child
and what will best promote the child's welfare and
happiness and to make his or her award accordingly."
OCGA § 19-9-3 (2). The statute also provides a
nonexclusive list of 17 factors relevant to determining the
best interests of the child. OCGA § 19-9-3 (4). Our
Supreme Court's decision in Bodne made clear
that "[w]hen exercising its discretion in relocation
cases, as in all child custody cases, the trial court must
consider the best interests of the child and cannot apply a
bright-line test." 277 Ga. at 446. Under this standard,
the child's interests are paramount:
[T]he primary consideration of the trial court in deciding
custody matters must be directed to the best interests of the
child involved, [ ] all other rights are secondary, and [ ]
any determination of the best interests of the child must be
made on a case-by-case basis.
Id. Accordingly, there is neither a presumption that
a relocating parent will lose custody nor a presumption in
favor of relocation. Id.
the trial court's order shows that it considered 14 of
the 17 non-exclusive factors as a part of determining the
best interests of the child. And we find nothing in the trial
court's order to indicate that it applied any improper
presumptions arising out of the mother's decision to move
to New York. We also find nothing internally inconsistent in
the trial court's finding that the child's best
interest would be served in Atlanta but giving the mother,
who apparently has not relocated to Georgia, primary physical
custody. As stated above, any issue regarding the
mother's compliance with the trial court's order is
not before this court. In sum, Woodson's first
enumeration of error is without merit.
Woodson contends that the trial court's factual findings
were conclusory and not reflective of the evidence;
accordingly, he argues that the facts were inadequate to
support the court's ruling. "Where there is any
evidence to support the decision of the trial court, this
Court cannot say there was an abuse of discretion."
Haskell v. Haskell, 286 Ga. 112, 112 (1) (686 S.E.2d
102) (2009) (citation and punctuation omitted); Coppedge
v. Coppedge, 298 Ga. 494, 499 (3) (783 S.E.2d 94) (2016)
contends that the trial court had no evidentiary support for
four of the fourteen factual findings in the order.
Specifically, Woodson contends the trial court's findings
with regard to factors (D), (E), (F), and (M) of OCGA §
19-9-3 (4) were not supported by the evidence. We disagree.
factor (D), the court found that the mother "appeared to
be more in tune to the child's health and financial
needs." With regard to the child's health needs,
evidence was presented that the father and his new wife
failed to recognize that the child needed immediate medical
attention during a week with the father. After the mother
picked up the child, she took the child to the emergency room
where it was discovered that the child had scarlet fever. As
to the child's financial needs, evidence was presented
that the father made no payments for the child's support
during some early years of the child's life; that the
father prevaricated with regard to his willingness to pay the
mother for some expenses she needed to support the child;
that the father admitted that he did not understand his own
finances very well; that the father threatened to hide income
if the mother asked for child support; and that when the
mother was in financial ...