10 Things to know about child custody: Georgia Family Lawyer

Georgia has specific child custody laws and there are specific considerations and regulations to be aware of.

As Georgia child custody lawyers, we wanted to do a blog post about important points in custody law.

Here are ten things to know about child custody in the state of Georgia:

  1. Best Interests of the Child: Like many states, Georgia superior court judges determine custody arrangements based on the best interests of the child. Factors considered include the child's relationship with each parent, the child's adjustment to home, school, and community, and the mental and physical health of all parties.
  2. Types of Custody: Georgia recognizes both legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to decision-making authority, while physical custody involves where the child will live.
  3. Parenting Plans: Parents are encouraged to create a parenting plan that outlines custody and visitation arrangements. If parents can agree on a plan, the court is more likely to approve it. If no agreement can be reached, then a judge will decide.
  4. Mediation: Mediation may be required in custody disputes. A neutral third party helps parents reach an agreement. If an agreement is reached, it can be submitted to the court for approval. In mediation, usually both sides have their own lawyers.
  5. Visitation Rights: Non-custodial parents are typically granted visitation rights unless there is a compelling reason not to. Visitation schedules can vary, and the court will decide based on the child's best interests.
  6. Relocation: If a custodial parent wishes to relocate with the child, they may need court approval. The court will consider whether the move is in the child's best interests. Relocation issues are arising more as people look for jobs in other states.
  7. Modification of Custody Orders: If there are significant changes in circumstances, either parent can petition the court for a modification of the custody arrangement. Circumstances can change greatly over time – even over a short period of time. Sometimes a change will be requested if the child is in an unsafe environment – parent may be drinking too much or using drugs, for instance.
  8. Enforcement of Custody Orders: Once a custody order is in place, both parents must adhere to its terms. Violations can be addressed through the court system. And a parent can be sanctioned for refusing to abide by the agreement. Jail can be a sanction the court imposes.
  9. Grandparent Visitation Rights: In certain circumstances, grandparents may petition the court for visitation rights with their grandchildren. Grandparents’ rights are fairly new to Georgia, but now grandparents finally have some rights. This is a trend that is becoming more pronounced throughout America as some high-profile grandparents’ rights cases have been featured in the media.
  10. Domestic Violence Considerations: If there's a history of domestic violence, the court will take this into account when determining custody arrangements, prioritizing the safety of the child. A court will see if anyone was convicted of family violence or if there are merely unproven allegations.

It's essential to seek advice from a family law attorney in Georgia who can provide guidance based on the specific details of your case and the most up-to-date legal information. When you need a Georgia family lawyer, call us immediately!

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