Now that you and your spouse have decided to divorce you have one big concern: how this will impact your relationship with your children. You know they likely will split time between you and your spouse. But what should you expect as you navigate a child custody arrangement? What factors does Georgia evaluate in determining child custody?
Child custody in Georgia
First, child custody in Georgia includes two types of custody:
- Physical custody (when you physically have custody of your child)
- Legal custody (when you make important decisions about your child’s medical care, education, extracurricular activities and more)
In most cases, the court will award you and your spouse joint legal custody, and the remaining issue is which party will be awarded physical custody of the children. You and your spouse may share joint physical custody, but that is the exception rather than the rule. You may be awarded primary physical custody of the children (with your spouse being granted specific parenting times as a secondary physical custodian) or the other way around. Only in rare, extreme circumstances will one parent receive both sole physical and legal custody of the children. Georgia also doesn’t automatically give one parent more rights to custody than the other, so fathers have the same rights to child custody as mothers.
Factors in determining child custody
When deciding on child custody in Georgia, a judge will review these factors to determine what is in the best interests of the child:
- The love, affection and emotional bond each parent has with the child
- The love, affection and emotional bond the child may have with their siblings, half-siblings or stepsiblings in the home
- The capacity each parent has to provide continued love, support and education in raising the child
- The ability of each parent to provide food, clothing, medical care and daily care needs for the child (considering child support from the other parent)
- How well each parent knows the child and his/her needs
- Each parent’s ability to provide the child with a stable family unit, including each parent’s support system that may benefit the child
- Each parent’s involvement in the child’s education, social and extracurricular activities or lack thereof
- Each parent’s work schedule and flexibility to allow for caring for the child
If you are concerned about how Georgia courts will determine child custody amid your divorce, you need to consult an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can help you get the child custody arrangement you are seeking.
In the end, it is most likely that you will have to allow your spouse some visitation or custody time with your children; however, with the right custody arrangement, you can minimize the impact of your divorce on your children.
Yes, likely you will have to allow your spouse some visitation or custody time with your child. But with the right custody arrangement, you can minimize the impact of your divorce on your child.