If you and your spouse are going through a divorce, you may be wondering what will happen to your children and how the State of Georgia will determine custody and visitation rights. Georgia law is specific in determining what happens to children after a divorce and will consider the needs of your children based on several different factors that the judge will decide after being presented with all of the facts. To ensure you are able to achieve a desirable outcome regarding custody of your children and other aspects associated with your divorce, it will be crucial for you to hire representation through our Georgia divorce attorneys located in Commerce, GA.
How the Courts Decide Custody
It is natural for parents to worry about what will happen to their children after a divorce in Georgia. To mitigate parents’ concerns regarding their children’s welfare, Georgia law has come a long way in trying to help both parents care for their children and to take an active role in the development of their children as it is in the children’s best interest.
The phrase “best interest of the child” is a difficult concept for many parents to understand and is one reason why hiring an experienced Georgia divorce attorney is so crucial. For the judge to decide custody arrangements, he or she will look at several factors that determine the best situation for your children’s futures which needs to be legally corroborated. Some of the factors of consideration where a Georgia divorce lawyer may be able to help you include:
- Work Schedules and Routines: Each parent needs a plan for employment and balancing care for the children. This will include either coming up with a flexible plan that works for the children with their routines, activities or school and have as much time as necessary to have a meaningful relationship with each parent. Or a standard plan of every other weekend for the non-primary custodial parent to spend time with the children can be discussed and is common to allow each parent to spend equal time on the weekends away from work and school routines with the children. Sometimes childcare also comes into the plan for either parent and the costs are put into the parent’s budgets to care for the children and allow for parents to both work after the divorce. These costs for childcare are discussed similar to child support.
- Physical, mental, and emotional health: Proof of your overall health is important to the court in determining if you will be able to take care of your children. A divorce lawyer is crucial in helping corroborate your health or disproving a spouse’s health to ensure you have the proper evidence that demonstrates your capacity to support your children.
- Relationship with the child and living situation: The court is more sympathetic to award child custody to the parents who have a better relationship with their children. They may also look to the children’s relationships with extended family members in order to assess which parent’s side of the family is better suited to help the children grow and develop. Parents who can also provide a better living situation for their children, including clean and sanitary living spaces and appropriate education opportunities are also given special consideration.
- Education and ability to provide for their children: Though there isn’t a way lawyers can help you receive more education, we can help demonstrate a parent’s capacity to provide a sustainable living for their children, including income and how child care will work.
- Children’s special needs and history of abuse/violence: If any of the family’s children has special needs or handicaps, or if they have a history of abuse or violence from one or the other parent, the court will make serious judgements about these and determine if either parent is eligible to care for their children. A decision of this gravity also comes at the word of expert witnesses, custody evaluators, or psychologists that may be assigned to your family for determining any problems associated with the children’s parenthood relationships.
- Custody motives and willingness to have a meaningful relationship: Parents who have mixed motives for custody can be spotted a mile away from the courts, so only those who have the clear motive to continue developing a meaningful relationship with their child will be given custody consideration.
If you are concerned about any aspect of your children’s welfare in the custody of your spouse, it is important to disclose these things with your lawyer. Divorce attorneys can present these facts to the judge and make sure these are considered. It is also important to consider legal representation in the event that a spouse brings allegations against you as a parent that may hinder your chances of favorable custody arrangements. We are able to help you withstand false allegations and prove your worthiness as a provider or any other intent you have in the battle for your children.
Types of Custody and What Will Happen with Your Children
While going through the process of divorce, children may still remain with both parents until the final court decisions are made if parents are still living together. If one or the other parent leaves the home or is forced to leave the home by the other parent, the court will also look at each situation and determine how it all will affect what happens to your children. Until the paperwork is signed, and most of the times afterward, you will generally have an equal say in the well-being of your children.
Georgia law allows for four different types of custody that affect you, the other parent, and your children. These are 1) sole physical custody, 2) joint physical custody, 3) sole legal custody, and 4) joint legal custody. Sole physical custody refers to the children physically living with only one parent, but joint physical custody happens when children spend equal or some other kind of split time living with the other parent. Courts prefer this when both parents demonstrate an ability to care for their children as long as the living arrangements for each parent doesn’t interfere with regular schooling for the children. Sole legal custody is the ability to make decisions for your children for only one parent, such as medical decisions or educational pursuits, and Joint legal custody is when both parents may be able to share in legal decisions for the children if the judge sees both parents as viable decision-makers. It is rare that one parent with full physical custody also lacks legal custody, but it is more common that both parents have equal say in the lives of their children as long as other factors don’t prohibit this, although it is also common that a parent is granted final decision making authority if and only if the parents can’t jointly agree. This final decision making authority is at times split for the major categories of decisions affecting the children. If equal joint physical custody isn’t determined viable in a particular situation, a parent can still be reassured that he or she can visit their children.
As you can see, as a parent you have a lot of ability to remain actively involved in the lives of your children if this is something that you want. The welfare of your children is top priority to the court during the divorce process, and nowadays because of the newer laws surrounding Georgian divorce, children are much better equipped to handle stressful divorce situations. To protect your rights as a parent and ensure that your children are taken care of during and after the divorce, remember to consider us as your Georgia attorneys. We will help you make sure you know every avenue you can take to ensure a bright future for your children after a Georgia divorce. 770-722-9765