Who Gets Child Custody in a Georgia Divorce?


For Georgia parents, there are few things that are more stressful than going through a child custody battle. Nothing should interfere with your relationship with your child. At Mitchell & Crunk, our compassionate Winder child custody lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in these types of family law cases. To help you better understand your parental rights, here we explain the basics of the child custody laws in Georgia.

Georgia Favors Shared Custody

As a starting point, it is important for Georgia parents to understand that state law strongly favors some form of shared custody. Georgia policymakers have made it clear that, in their view, it is best for children to have a positive, ongoing relationship with both of their parents to the extent that it is reasonably possible. As such, some form of joint legal custody will be awarded in the majority of cases. Of course, it is not always possible for a child to have a positive relationship with both of their parents. Unfortunately, some parents are simply unfit to carry out their duties. Sole custody, in these types of situations, then is a possibility.

Further, what actually constitutes “shared custody” can vary widely. In most cases, one of the child’s parents will be awarded primary physical custody. Though, there are some exceptions to this as well. Additionally, one parent will likely need to be granted final decision-making authority for situations in which good faith efforts to reach a mutual decision breakdown or for situations in which emergency circumstances have arisen.

The bottom line is that child custody arrangements must always be created on a case-by-case basis. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions in this area of law. For this reason, it is critically important to have strong, skilled family law advocate by your side when you are going through a child custody dispute.

Understanding the ‘Best Interests of the Child’ Standard

Similar to many other states, Georgia operates under the ‘best interests of the child’ legal standard. Should a Georgia family law court need to step in and make any ruling regarding your custody case, the court will look to this legal standard. These guidelines ensure that the child’s well-being always comes first, ahead of the desires and conveniences of either of the parents. Further, this standard is comprehensive; Georgia courts will assess many different factors when determining which type of custody arrangement is best for the child, including:

  • Physical safety;
  • Mental health;
  • Overall well-being;
  • Social development; and
  • For older children, their own wishes.

To prevail in a custody dispute, you and your family law lawyer must be able to make a strong case that your proposed custody arrangement is what is truly in the best interests of your child.

Contact Our Georgia Child Custody Attorneys Today

At Mitchell & Crunk, our Georgia child custody lawyers are standing by, ready to help you fight for your parental rights. We understand just how sensitive and difficult these cases can be. To learn more about what our team can do for you, please call us today to set up your free initial case review. We have offices in Winder and Commerce and represent parents throughout the region, including in Jackson County, Barrow County, and Hall County.