Statistics reveal that couples in Georgia and other areas of the South are much more likely to divorce than other people in the country. One of the factors behind this statistic is that many people in Georgia and other southern states marry at younger ages than elsewhere in the country, and marrying at a younger age greatly increases the chances of divorce. One of the most common questions asked by many couples who divorce at young ages in Georgia is how custody decisions are made. If a former couple is not able to decide how to handle custody issues, a court of law will intervene. In these cases, courts tend to consider several common factors.
The Well Being of Children
Nearly all parents want what is best for a child, but a court of law will determine how capable each parent is of raising children. If several children are involved, a judge will consider what the best decision is for the group, which often means that the judge will emphasize the importance of keeping the children together. A judge will also work to make sure that a child’s life remains consistent, which often means that custody will be assigned to the parent who is closest to the child’s school.
The Role of Custody Laws
Judges in the state of Georgia are the ones responsible for deciding the custody of minor children. Custody decisions do not depend on any presumption in favor of either parent. If you disagree with the judge’s decision, you will only be able to succeed with an appeal if you can prove that the judge abused his or her discretion. In making a decision about custody, there are 17 factors that judges consider. The judge decides what emphasis is given to each of these factors:
- The emotional ties that exist between each parent and child
- The emotional ties between the child and his or her siblings, half siblings, and step siblings
- The capacity of each parent to give the child affection and guidance
- Each parent’s knowledge of the child and the child’s needs
- Each parent’s capacity to provide the child with daily needs
- The home environment of each parent and its ability to nurture the child
- The importance of continued stability in the child’s life
- The stability of the family unit
- Each parent’s mental and physical health
- Each parent’s involvement in the child’s education
- Each parent’s work schedule and flexibility
- The history of the child including any educational or health needs
- Each parent’s past performance caring for the child
- The ability of each parent to facilitate an ongoing parent-child relationship
- Any recommendation by a court-appointed agent
- Any evidence of mental, physical, or sexual abuse of children and each parent’s criminal history
- Any evidence of substance abuse by either parent
Speak with a Georgia Family Law Attorney
If you are uncertain about the custody process in Georgia or need help negotiating this process, you should not hesitate to obtain the services of a skilled family law attorney. Contact Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C. today to schedule an initial free consultation.