Child Custody Laws

Historically speaking, child custody arrangements are the most contested issue during divorce proceedings. If you are filing for a divorce in Georgia, there are laws governing child custody that you should familiarize yourself with to understand your rights.

The child’s best interests are the primary consideration of the court when making a determination regarding custody, so it’s important to work with a highly-qualified law firm during this process. The court may decide to award joint custody, where both parents share custody of the child at different times, or one parent may be awarded sole custody. Two types of joint custody exist.

The first type of joint custody has to do with major decisions that ultimately affect the child’s future well-being. This is called legal custody. If a parent has legal custody of the child, then they have the final say in matters such as education and religion. The parent with legal custody will also have the responsibility to ultimately decide medical treatments and even extracurricular activities. Although legal custody is important, both parents can usually agree on what is best for their child. If they can’t reach a decision, the legal guardian will be the one to decide.

Physical custody is slightly different, and it refers to the parent who lives with the child at any given time. Both parents can expect to share a fair amount of time and contact with their child when joint physical custody has been awarded. Again, every decision the court makes concerning custody is to protect the child’s best interests.

Parenting Plans

Divorce attorneys are familiar with parenting plans, as the law requires every child custody arrangement to have one. For the agreement to be considered valid, it will have to acknowledge:

  • The fact that a close and consistent parent-child relationship is what is best for the child
  • The hard truth that a child needs change to mature into a healthy adult and parents should be flexible for the child’s sake
  • Physical custody gives the parent with whom the child is with the right to make daily choices and emergency decisions
  • It is important for both parents to have access to their child’s records and information, including educational progress, medical history, and other things that the parent with legal custody has the right to decide.

Once the main concerns have been addressed in the parenting plan, the parents will have to agree on other factors concerning their child’s custody. If they can’t come to an amicable agreement, the judge may decide for them.

Since this blog post doesn’t contain any content that should be considered as legal advice, it may be a good idea to get into contact with a professional. They have a lot of experience and may be able to better help you in your time of need.

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