During Georgia divorce proceedings, many parents find themselves fighting for custody of their children. If the parents are unable to work out a child custody and visitation agreement outside of court, the judge on the case will hear both parents’ cases and make the final decision regarding the parenting plan. Even if the parents do come to an agreement, the judge will ensure that the best interests of the child are met before approving the agreement.
Judges will consider a number of factors when determining child custody arrangements, but all factors will somehow relate to the best interests of the child. In most cases, a parenting plan will be based on the fact that the child will benefit by having both parents’ continuous involvement in their life and that they should both have access to the child’s records. The court will also acknowledge that the needs of the child will change as time goes by and if the child is with a certain parent, that parent will likely be the one responsible for making day-to-day or emergency decisions regarding the child.
In a joint child custody situation, both parents may have legal custody, or the power to make major decisions for the child, and/or physical custody, where the child splits time between his or her parents. In a sole custody situation, the child may primarily live with one parent while the other has visitation rights (sole physical custody) and/or one parent will make the decisions for the child (sole legal custody).
If the child is age 14 or older, he or she may choose who to live with, but the judge will still have the ability to deny the child’s request if they feel it will not be in the child’s best interest.
A family law attorney in your area can help come up with a parenting agreement that works for you and your family.