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How Is Custody Decided In Georgia Family Courts?

by | Mar 31, 2017 | Custody

Divorce cases are often tough for children emotionally, and courts go to great lengths to help ensure that they do not feel the blow of a marital split for the rest of their lives. Determining which parent has which responsibility is a difficult issue in some cases, and the courts have to take a large number of factors into consideration before coming to a conclusion. Let’s discuss how Georgia’s child custody laws work a little more closely.

Factors Considered

The most important underlying principle of any child custody arrangement or order issued by the court is a simple one: what is in the child’s best interests? This question is never straightforward, so to come to a proper conclusion the court will weigh a number of factors. Here are just a few of the common factors that are legally allowed to be taken into consideration:

  • The child’s relationship with each parent. Are there emotional ties? Are they positive? What about their relationship with their siblings? Is there a history of alcoholism or abuse?
  • The mental and physical health of each parent.
  • The home environment each parent can provide. Is it safe? Does it nurture and foster growth?
  • Which parent has the better ability to financially support a child? What is their employment status? Will it allow them to spend enough time with their children? Are they flexible?
  • Which parent has been more involved in their child’s extracurricular activities?
  • Is a parent willing to foster and nurture their child’s relationship with the other parent?

Types of Custody

There are four types of child custody that can be awarded based on the consideration of these and other factors. Let’s look at them closer.

Physical Custody
Physical custody is actually having a child in your care and responsibility. Having physical custody is essentially having the child live with you, and you care for them, take them to their appointments, drop them off at school, etc.

Legal Custody
Legal custody is the ability to make key decisions regarding the child’s livelihood and upbringing. What doctor will they see? How will they be raised religiously? What activities will they be permitted to participate in? Where will they attend school, and what are their educational expectations?

Sole Custody
Sole custody is when one parent has been exclusively been awarded custody. These awards are becoming rare in modern divorce cases, as courts have done everything in their power to ensure that both parents remain positively involved in a child’s life to the maximum possible extent. Only extreme cases such as abuse, assault, or a history of alcoholism or addiction usually obtain sole custody nowadays.

Joint Custody
These awards are when both parents have the ability to be involved in their child’s life, either by having visitation time with their child or by being involved in big decisions regarding their child’s upbringing. Courts do everything they can to encourage both parents to get along and cooperate with each other in joint custody arrangements, as this frequently leads to the most stable and beneficial environment for a child’s upbringing.

If you need assistance with a child custody issue, call The Manely Firm, P.C. Family law issues are often complex and intimidating, and many people don’t know where to turn for help. Our team of accomplished and experienced Georgia family law attorneys are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals and navigate your case smoothly and effectively. Our unparalleled record of success and satisfied clients are a testament to not only our legal acumen, but our philosophy of open communication and detailed strategy to help you reach the goals you desire.