Child custody for divorcing parents in Georgia

Child custody for divorcing parents in Georgia

Divorce is difficult, particularly when children are present. In addition to determining the best way to split assets like the family home and retirement accounts, couples with children must also develop a agreement.

Child custody arrangements are generally determined one of two ways. Either the parents set aside the difficulties that led to the deterioration of their relationship during these discussions and come to an agreement on their own or the court is involved.

If the parents are able to reach an agreement on child custody and visitation issues they will develop a parenting plan. This plan may be completed with informal settlement negotiations or mediation, both of which are often aided with the use of attorneys.

If parents cannot have fruitful conversations, court involvement may be necessary.

Basics of court involvement in child custody hearings in Georgia

In Georgia, one of the first steps in a child custody determination is attendance of a child custody hearing. During this hearing, details are discussed that directly impact the child's future life. This includes how much time the parents will spend with the children, where vacations and holidays will be spent and how a parent can contact the children when they are in the other parent's care.

The judge overseeing the hearing will make decisions based on the child's best interest. This legal standard takes a wide array of factors into consideration, including:

  • The mental and physical health of both parents.
  • A desire to provide continuation of a stable home environment for the children.
  • Age and sex of the child. If the child is old enough, his or her wishes may also be considered. In Georgia, the court may honor a child's request once he or she turns 14.
  • Presence of physical, sexual or emotional abuse.

After considering these factors, a judge may grant either sole or joint custody. Sole custody allows one parent to have primary care of the children. The judge may grant the noncustodial parent with visitation rights. Joint custody results in both parents sharing the child's legal and physical custody. This allows both parents to play a role in making decisions regarding the education, medical treatment and religious upbringing of the children.

Whether putting together a parenting plan or fighting for sole custody of your children, it can be difficult to navigate the intricacies of the system in Georgia. Contact an experienced Georgia child custody attorney to discuss your situation. This legal professional will be able to help answer your questions regarding child custody and visitation issues and help ensure a more favorable outcome.