You and your spouse have been together for five years. You have two beautiful children. Unfortunately, your happily ever after did not have a happy ending. You had to file for divorce. You made the decision to end your romantic relationship and go your separate ways. Although your romantic relationship has ended, your relationship as parents continues. Maybe you weren’t married. Maybe you were dating and had children. Still, your relationship as parents continues.
We’ve all been there. We all have a romantic relationship that went sour. Everyone has a breakup story. If you don’t, you will. Generally, when you end a relationship and after healing from your breakup wounds, you’ll move on and that person will be a distant memory. But if you have children, that person will be an intricate part of your life as you co-parent.
Pursuant to O.C.G.A. 19-9-3(d), “[i]t is the express policy of this state to encourage that a child has continuing contact with parents… who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child and to encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their child after such parents have separated or dissolved their marriage or relationship.”
It is important to encourage children to have a relationship with their parents and that parents share the responsibility of raising their children. If you’re thinking to yourself, that’s fine. Our relationship has ended but I still want my ex to be part of my child’s life. I can co-pai·ent. No problem. That’s great! However, everyone does not feel that way. If you can’t stand your ex for whatever reason, co-parenting may not come as easy. But it is still necessary.
It is the policy of the state to encourage your child’s relationship with both parents. “But my child is eight months old and his dad has never been with him for more than a couple of hours and l was there the whole time.” Then in that case, instead of jumping into an every other weekend visitation schedule, you can start off with a couple of hours on Saturday and a couple of hours on Sunday. “My ex-has violent outbursts.” Supervised visitation may be the way to go. But visitation is still the rule of the day.
There is no one way to handle a parenting situation. Talk to an attorney about how to approach your specific circumstances. Know that, it is this State’s policy that your child continue their relationship with their parent. Know, that the best interest of your child always controls.