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Custody: Whose Best Interest?

Tonight's Child Custody blog is written by Attorney, Darrin Keaton.

In Georgia, much of the consideration in a custody matter is given to the child's "best interests." Georgia Law provides various factors meant to assist a judge in determining what are those 'best interests" are, but the discretion is ultimately left to the judge.

When parents become litigants in a courtroom fight over a child, they often lose sight of what may be good for their child, all in the quest to get a custodial result that is good for themselves. These people lose their way in the forest of the fight and are focused on 'winning' rather than what is best for a child.

In an ideal world, the best interests of a child are often not best served by having the child's parents split up and fragment the family unit. However, we live in a world where custody disputes are a fact of life. How many times have we heard someone describe their case in terms of winning or losing custody of a child? But should children be seen as an object to be 'won' or 'lost?' Litigants, attorneys and even judges in the crucible of the courtroom, frequently forget what the goal should be when determining custody issues.

Does a mother really have the best interests of a child in her mind when she insists upon minimal visitation for a father who was otherwise engaged in their child's life prior to their separation? Does a father do his child justice when he demands equal parenting time with his child when he knows he travels out of town frequently which would subject the child to extended daycare stays? What is the real motivation for parents to do this? Many times it is for the oldest reason of Does a Judge think about a child if he holds a predisposition that one side 'should' win over the other before the first piece of evidence is presented?

Attorneys will tell you about the family law cases with brutal fights over grills, dishes, worthless electronic equipment and a garden hose (yes, garden hose). But you would be hard-pressed to find an attorney who would rather fight over children than a garden hose.

At The Manely Firm, we pride ourselves in providing a refreshing perspective to custody disputes; one that really focuses on a best interest standard and not a selfish interest standard. 'Scorched earth' tactics do not mesh with The Manely Firm paradigm, and clients who require that kind of attorney need not apply.

After all, garden hoses and grills can be easily replaced...children cannot.

Darrin Keaton

(Darrin is an Attorney with The Manely Firm, P.C.)

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