When couples who have children divorce, they can be concerned about how custody will be decided. Courts consider the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements.
Under Georgia child custody laws, the court will decide whether joint or sole custody is best for the child. The judge will also decide on legal and physical custody.
In joint custody situations, parents share legal and/or physical custody of the child. In sole custody situations, the child will live with one of the parents full time even if the other parent shares legal custody or has visitation rights.
Legal custody refers to the parent or guardian’s ability to make decisions involving significant life events, like the child’s education and religious upbringing. Physical custody refers to which parent or guardian the child lives with.
Georgia allows children who are 14 and older to choose a parent to live with but a judge can overrule that decision if he or she chooses to do so, based on the circumstances of the situation.
A parenting plan sets out the required expectations of each parent in the custody arrangement. It ensures that parents and children can continue their relationship in a way that supports the child’s needs and best interests as they grow.
Parenting plans generally allow both parents to have access to the child’s records. They also generally specify that each parent is entitled to make daily life decisions for the child while the child is in the parent’s care.
These plans can also set out where children will spend holidays, birthdays or other events. They may also add additional considerations like supervision for visits, transportation or other significant factors pertaining to the family’s situation.
Child custody determinations in the midst of a divorce can be difficult. It is helpful to have an experienced attorney who can guide parents through the custody process and answer their questions.