Facing a divorce in Georgia can be complicated, but it can be even more complex when children are involved. It’s important to understand the key aspects that go into obtaining child custody, visitation rights, and the crucial differences between legal and physical custody. If you’re a parent actively facing a custody case all of these issues will impact you
Obtaining Child Custody in Georgia
To obtain child custody in Georgia, parents need to navigate a legal process that considers the best interests of the child. This typically involves submitting a custody or divorce petition, attending court hearings, and demonstrating your ability to provide a stable and loving environment for your child. Courts in Georgia prioritize the child’s best interests above all else when making custody decisions.
When applying for custody in Georgia, it’s essential to understand the types of custody arrangements available:
Sole Custody: In this arrangement, one parent has primary custody, and the other typically has visitation rights. Sole custody is typically awarded when one parent is better suited to meet the child’s needs or when it’s in the child’s best interest to have one stable home.
Joint Custody: Both parents share custody, with the child spending significant time with each. Joint legal custody, where both parents make decisions together, is common and encouraged in Georgia. Joint custody aims to ensure that both parents remain actively involved in their child’s life.
Understanding Visitation Rights in Georgia
Visitation rights refer to a non-custodial parent’s right to spend time with their child. In Georgia, visitation rights are designed to maintain a meaningful relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent, even if they don’t have physical custody. The specifics of visitation can vary depending on individual circumstances, but the court’s primary concern is the child’s well-being.
Visitation schedules can be flexible and tailored to fit the child’s needs and parents’ availability. This flexibility allows for creative solutions that prioritize the child’s best interests, such as holiday visitation arrangements or supervised visitation when necessary.
The Difference Between Legal Custody and Physical Custody
In Georgia there are two types of custody and it’s important to understand what they are and how they differ:
Legal custody grants a parent the authority to make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. This includes choices related to education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. In Georgia, joint legal custody is often favored to ensure both parents have a say in their child’s life.
Joint legal custody encourages parents to collaborate and make important decisions together, promoting the child’s well-being. It also ensures that both parents have access to important information and are involved in major decisions that impact their child’s life.
Physical custody refers to where the child resides on a day-to-day basis. It determines the child’s primary residence and the schedule for spending time with the other parent. Georgia courts aim to provide stability and a nurturing environment for the child when awarding physical custody.
In Georgia, physical custody can take various forms, including:
Primary physical custody: The child primarily resides with one parent, but the other parent may have visitation rights or a shared visitation schedule.
Shared physical custody: The child spends a nearly equal amount of time with both parents, ensuring that both parents are actively involved in the child’s daily life.
Determining Custody and Visitation Rights
Georgia judges consider various factors when determining child custody and visitation rights. The court’s primary focus is always on the child’s best interests. Here are some factors that a Georgia will consider when making their decision:
- Ability to maintain family relationships.
- Child preference, depending upon the age of the child.
- The capacity to provide necessary basic care.
- Physical and psychological health of each parent.
- Home environment.
- Involvement in the child’s education, social, and extracurricular activities.
- The parent who has been the primary caregiver in the past and their ability to continue as the primary caregiver.
- Substance abuse by either parent.
It’s important to note that no single factor determines custody or visitation outcomes. Instead, judges weigh all relevant factors to make decisions that prioritize the child’s well-being.
Additionally, Georgia law encourages parents to develop a parenting plan that outlines custody and visitation arrangements. If parents can agree on these terms, the court is more likely to approve the plan, reducing the need for litigation and ensuring that the child’s needs are met.
Hiring the Right Georgia Child Custody Attorney
Navigating the complexities of child custody in Georgia can be daunting. It’s crucial to have the right legal representation on your side. At Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C., our experienced Georgia child custody attorneys understand the intricacies of Georgia family law.
Our legal team is dedicated to helping you navigate the legal process smoothly. We will work with you to develop a compelling case that demonstrates your commitment to your child’s well-being. Our goal is to secure the best possible outcome for your child custody case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards protecting your child’s future.