Can a Child Request to Change Custody in GA?

In Georgia, children who are 14 years old or older can pick which parent they want to live with. However, a parent has to be the one to actually file a case to change custody. Judges will honor the child’s preference as long as it is in line with the best interests of the child. A re-evaluation of the current child custody order will follow unless the child has been granted a change of custody within the last two years. Children who are at least 11 years old can also pick which parent they wish to live with.

However, the judge would need to evaluate the child’s overall circumstances more carefully before granting the child’s wishes. The judge might also opt to appoint a neutral third party when evaluating the child’s specific situation. This individual will look into the child’s current situation at home and school and discuss the child’s case with relevant parties, including teachers, close family members, therapists, and doctors, among others.

Temporary Change of Child Custody

Judges can likewise grant a temporary change of child custody to children who are 11 to 14 years old. This order could stay in effect for up to six months. Judges are more likely to grant this temporary order in cases where the child wishes to go with an older sibling who also wants to live or is already living with the non-custodial parent.

A parent can likewise request for a modification of the custody arrangement on behalf of a younger child on the grounds that an older sibling has also requested a modification of the custody order.

Factors Used in Determining The Best Interests of Children

In child custody cases, prioritizing and preserving the best interests of the child means that judges will make all decisions regarding custody and visitation with the goal of ensuring the child’s safety, happiness, as well as proper emotional and mental health development well into adulthood. In this light, judges normally use these factors when determining the best interests of the child:

  • The child’s specific wishes (depending on the child’s age)
  • Both parents’ physical and mental health
  • If the child requires special accommodations or needs, how each parent provides or attends to those needs
  • The need to continue providing a stable home environment for the child
  • Any cultural and/or religious considerations
  • The child’s age and sex
  • Interrelationships and interactions with other household members
  • The child custody arrangements of the child’s siblings
  • Support and opportunities for interactions with either parent’s extended family members, such as siblings, grandparents, etc.
  • Adjustments to community and school settings
  • Whether there’s a pattern, incident, or evidence of family violence, emotional abuse, or excessive discipline
  • Whether there’s proof of parental alcohol, drug, and/or child abuse

Get in Touch with a Competent Cumming GA Child Custody Lawyer Today

If you are having issues with child custody and need help navigating the complex legal system or have any questions about custody matters, contact Banks, Stubbs & McFarland for help. You can discuss your case with our experienced Cumming GA child custody lawyer by calling 770-887-1209 or reaching out to us online.