Few issues in divorce are as emotional as the issue of child custody.
Child custody refers to a set of responsibilities and rights of parents regarding childcare, general welfare, authority, religion, education and health. Spouses can resolve issues of custody and visitation out of court through a private agreement which is the most used and preferred. This is called a parental consent or a consent order that is subsequently approved by a judge.
The challenge in the private custody agreement is the development of a practical arrangement that allows each parent to maintain a constant relationship in relation to the raising of their children.
If you are facing a custody issue, it is important to carefully consider the current and future needs of your children. If the parents are in agreement to a court taking a decision, each parent has equal rights to physical custody of the child.
In cases where custody is disputed, the Court must make a determination “to promote the interests and welfare of the child.” The interests of the child is the key point that courts should utilize to guide decisions about custody.
The judge will consider past conduct and present and if the evidence supports the claim of custody. You must show that your behavior and skills will improve the general welfare of the child more-so than your spouse. Other factors taken into account are:
The physical, mental, emotional, moral and religious influences,
The child’s preference,
The ability of each parent’s care,
Each parent’s family atmosphere
Each parent’s availability to the child,
Economic situation of each parent and their potential and
Other factors that illustrate what is best for the child.
A custody action may also be taken to court for any parent, relative, or other entity (subject to certain exceptions) to claim the custody of a minor. If it is determined that a parent would not be a better caregiver for the child, the court may grant custody to the non-parent request (such as a grandparent). This is a complex area of law and should seek the advice of an attorney.
Georgia statutes do not show a preference for one parent in custody matters. The court may grant equal custody (joint custody) for both parties, or giving primary custody to one parent (sole custody) and visitation privileges for the other. Joint physical custody can be a time to share equal time between parents and requires the greatest amount of cooperation. There is also legal custody is concerned with how decisions are made for the child.
In a divorce, custody proceedings can go before or after divorce or carried out while the action is pending.
Until you and your spouse sit in agreement, or until a court order of custody is issued, each parent has the right to physical possession of their child. A written document formalizes the rights of custody and visitation and avoid unplanned changes in custody arrangements for a parent.
Custody decisions affect your family life after divorce for a long time, so it is in yours and your child’s interest in understanding the rights and obligations. An experienced family lawyer can help the overall development and negotiation of settlement agreements of custody, providing references to the experience of mediation, and the formalization of agreements reached as a result of mediation or litigation.
Whether you: (1) need a divorce mediation law firm to represent you in mediation proceedings; (2) need an experienced Georgia collaborative law attorney; (3) are facing divorce and unsure where to start; (4) need custody and support help, we have the right family law attorney for you. We can also help you execute a pre-marital agreement.
Contact us anytime to schedule an appointment. The Cherry Law Firm in Kennesaw, GA. (770) 444-3399