When two adults get divorced and there are children involved, decisions as to which spouse will gain custody of the children are always a critical – and emotionally draining – issue.
Child custody and divorce laws vary from state to state, so for the sake of this article we will be focusing on Divorce Law in Georgia. If you do not live in Georgia, I recommend that you read this article to get a basic understanding of Child Custody & Divorce Law in general, and then check with an attorney in your home state to see how your state’s particular laws may vary.
Under Georgia Divorce Law, GA does not favor either the mother or the father. Rather, GA divorce law strives to analyze the relationship each child has with each parent, and work towards the best interest of the children.
Georgia divorce and family law allows for a number of different types of child custody, including: temporary custody, sole custody, split custody, and joint custody.
Temporary custody under Georgia divorce law is exactly what the name implies. It involves which parent has custody of the children at that moment. Temporary custody can be overturned easily under GA law if it is discovered that the children are in an unsafe situation.
Sole custody under Georgia law is often referred to as ‘legal custody.’ This means that one parent has the authority to make long range plans that include (but are not limited to) moves, education, or life changing circumstances that affect the children. If a parent has sole custody under Georgia law, they do not need to have the permission of the other parent to make these decisions.
Split custody under Georgia law is where two or more children are involved, and the children live with different spouses. Oftentimes this decision is based upon the preference of the children as to whom they would prefer to live with.
Joint custody under Georgia law is where both parents have control over the upbringing of the children involved. In this type of custody decision, both parents must be able to communicate for the benefit of the children, and be able to come to agreements about how to raise the children. If the spouses are constantly fighting, the court can (and often will) deny a request of joint custody.
When issues of child custody come up in a Georgia divorce, many wonder or not they should hire a GA divorce attorney. While a Georgia attorney is not always needed, I do highly recommend that you have an attorney licensed to practice in Georgia and familiar with GA Child Custody and Divorce Law on your side. Importantly, if you are involved in a hostile divorce, or if the other spouse has a GA attorney representing them, I definitely recommend that you hire experienced Georgia divorce attorneys, such as the legal team at Persily & Associates who are Divorce Attorneys in Atlanta.
Of course, there are times when two spouses going through the divorce are able to come to a mutual agreement regarding child custody. If this is the case, then a stipulation and consent order should be filed with the court. The order must be very specific as to the custody of the children. The order should include which parent will have legal custody of the children after the divorce, as well as which parent will have the children during holidays. Also, all sorts of contingencies must be taken into consideration. If one parent is running late and can not meet scheduled visitations, do the visitations get rescheduled? No mater how trivial it may seem, every conceivable issue regarding the divorce and custody of the children need to be discussed and placed in the consent order to prevent misunderstandings in the future regarding child custody.
It is important to note that many parents will want to change or modify their child custody agreement after it has been made. If you desire to do this, then you must provide evidence as to why the agreement should be modified. The state of Georgia wants the child to live a stable life.
Remember, when you are thinking or discussing child custody, the most important factor will be the best interests of the children involved. Their feelings, thoughts, and most importantly their safety and stability are the primary concern of the courts under Georgia law. To protect your rights and the rights of your children, we highly recommend you have a knowledgeable GA divorce attorney by your side every step of the way.