What is the Most Common Custody Arrangement In Georgia?
The most common child custody arrangement in Georgia, as in many states, is joint legal custody with one parent designated as the primary physical custodian. This arrangement emphasizes shared decision-making for the child's welfare while designating one parent as the primary residential custodian.
The state wants to encourage parents to both have a meaningful relationship with their child whenever possible, so the courts aim for joint custody unless a serious issue arises and puts the child’s best interests at risk.
Even if you believe you will obtain a joint custody arrangement, always have the representation of a Georgia child custody attorney to protect your parental rights. Below are some aspects of this common arrangement in GA.
Joint Legal Custody
In joint legal custody, both parents have equal rights and responsibilities in major decisions regarding the child's upbringing, including education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. This ensures that both parents have a say in important aspects of the child's life. However, one parent will have to have final decision-making authority, which means that parent’s decision will control over the other.
Primary Physical Custodian
This designates one parent as the primary custodian responsible for the day-to-day care and residence of the child. The non-custodial parent typically has visitation rights or parenting time.
The non-custodial parent is usually granted a visitation schedule, outlining specific times and dates for when they can spend time with the child. This schedule is established based on the child's best interests and the parents' availability.
Georgia requires parents to submit a comprehensive parenting plan that outlines various aspects of the child's care, including custody arrangements, visitation schedules, and decision-making responsibilities. This plan serves as a guide for the court's final custody determination.
Factors Considered by the Court
When determining custody arrangements, Georgia courts consider the best interests of the child as the paramount factor. They assess various elements, such as the child's age, emotional ties with each parent, stability of each parent's home environment, and the child's adjustment to school and community.
Courts encourage parents to work together in the child's best interests. A willingness to cooperate and facilitate a positive relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent is highly valued.
Modifiability of Custody Orders
Custody arrangements are not set in stone. If circumstances change significantly, such as a parent's relocation, change in employment, or substantial changes in the child's needs, either parent can petition the court for a modification of the custody order.
It's important to note that every custody case is unique, and the final arrangement is determined by the specific circumstances and best interests of the child involved. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney in Georgia is crucial to navigate the legal complexities and ensure that the custody arrangement serves the child's well-being above all else.
Seek Help from Our Georgia Family Lawyers
Banks, Stubbs & McFarland handles all types of child custody matters, so please contact us for a consultation. We are ready to help ensure you can continue your relationship with your child whenever possible. We can also address any other family law issues you face along with your custody case.