If you are a parent who is seeking a divorce in Georgia, it’s important that you become familiar with the child custody process. Custody is one of the first issues to arise in most divorce cases, but many people misunderstand how it works. In order to help familiarize you with child custody in Georgia, we’ve compiled some basic information to help get you started. If you have additional questions about how child custody in Georgia works, please contact a Georgia child custody attorney for assistance.
Types of Child Custody in Georgia
There are three primary types of child custody in Georgia: legal custody, physical custody, and sole custody.
Legal custody gives parents the right to make certain decisions regarding their children, including education and medical decisions. In order to keep both parents involved in a child’s life, most judges award joint legal custody to both parties in a divorce case. However, even with joint custody, courts usually identify one parent as the final decision-maker. The parent who is appointed the final decision maker is usually the parent who has physical custody of the child.
Physical custody refers to where the children live. In nearly all cases, the court designates one parent as the primary physical custodian and the other parent as the secondary physical custodian. The primary physical custodian usually has the children during the week, and the secondary physical custodian usually alternates holidays and weekends.
Sole custody grants one parent all of the time with his or her children. Given the general policy of keeping both parents involved in a child’s life, sole custody is usually only granted when one parent poses a danger to his or her children.
How Custody Decisions are Made
Georgia courts use the “best interests” standard when making custody decisions, which means that the court considers what is in a child’s best interests prior to making a final decision regarding custody. Several factors are examined during this analysis, including:
- The parents’ work schedules,
- Whether one parent was the children’s primary caregiver during the marriage,
- Whether either parent has substance abuse issues, and
- The ability of each parent to provide for the needs of the children.
Contact a Lithonia Child Custody Lawyer
If you have children and are seeking a divorce in Georgia, you need an experienced Georgia child custody lawyer on your side. At the law office of E.N. Banks-Ware, we are committed to helping you preserve the irreplaceable bond that you have with your children. When we take you on as a client, we’ll guide you through the child custody process while ensuring that your case is treated with the attention and care that it deserves. So, if you need a lawyer to represent you in your Georgia child custody case, contact us today for a free consultation.