In Georgia family law cases, there are many topics that will spark disagreement. One of the most emotionally wrenching centers on children. It is unfortunate that children may get caught in the middle of a divorce. Often, this is based on child custody.
Understanding the law for these matters can help with trying to achieve a favorable result. For many; however, the law itself is an obstacle to their goals. Knowing what the law says about child custody is important. It is also wise to understand what potential changes to the law might be made in the future. For these and other aspects of a case, having professional guidance is imperative.
Current child custody laws and proposed changes to the protocol
According to Georgia child custody law, there is no favor granted to the mother or father. A judge will make the custody determination based on the facts in the case and the child’s best interests.
Regarding best interests, the court will assess each situation on its own merits. It can consider the child and how they have bonded to each parent; the emotional connection between parent and child; if the parents are equipped to nurture and care for the child while contributing to educating and raising them; and the parents’ ability to provide the child with their fundamental needs such as food, medical care and a safe environment.
It will also look at the child’s schooling; the parents’ physical and mental health; how involved the parents are in the child’s extracurricular activities; how the parents live up to their responsibilities; if they are willing to ensure the child has a close relationship with the other parent and put lingering animosity aside to achieve that end; if there is a court-appointed evaluator’s assessment favoring one parent or the other; if there was past violence of any kind; if there was substance abuse and other factors the judge deems important.
Although these are the current basics of child custody, a house bill could change that. House Bill 96 has been proposed several times in the past and a lawmaker is trying again. Under the proposal, custody could be a 50/50 split, depending on the judge’s determination that it is in the child’s best interest to do so. This would greatly impact the system and give fathers a better chance at getting the child for half of the time.
Parents need to be aware of the laws and get help with their case
As this potential change shows, child custody is not set in stone with the mother getting the child for most of the time with the father granted visitation rights. People who are involved in a divorce and are thinking about how child custody and visitation will be addressed should know what they are trying to achieve and have comprehensive guidance in formulating a plan.
Not every case needs to go to court. Some can be negotiated effectively. Still, it is wise to have representation that is willing to go to court to try and reach a positive outcome based on the client’s objectives. A key is having assistance that knows the value of dignity and compassion.
Whether the parents are on good terms or there is ongoing dispute, it is essential to know the law and to have help from the beginning. Consulting with professionals who have nearly 30 years of experience and who can offer personal attention and care may make the difference in a child custody and family law case.