Marietta Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody disagreements are some of the most wrenching in a divorce. Parents rightfully fear losing contact with their children and often want to obtain “sole” custody. However, custody is rarely awarded to only one parent, and our state encourages both parents to maintain continuing and loving relations with their children.
If you have a custody dispute, you need a powerful, committed legal advocate by your side. Parents always have the power to decide custody between themselves. They can come up with a detailed parenting plan that allocates time with the child and ask a judge to approve it. But when parents cannot agree, a trip to court is unavoidable. Let our Marietta child custody lawyers represent you before a judge.
Physical and Legal Custody
There are two types of custody in Georgia: physical and legal. Parents can share physical and legal custody, or a judge might award either type of custody to only one.
- Physical custody. A parent with physical custody has possession of the child. The child lives with the parent, and the parent controls where the child can be.
- Legal custody. A parent with legal custody is empowered to make important decisions regarding the child’s education, medical care, religion, and extracurricular activities.
As mentioned above, parents can share physical custody and legal custody. With physical custody, however, it is unlikely that parents will split time with the child 50/50. For example, children in school cannot move around constantly, so one parent typically has more time than the other. However, parents with shared physical custody should both have meaningful time with the child.
Georgia law prefers that parents share custody, and judges are unlikely to award sole legal or sole physical custody to only one parent unless there has been a history of abuse or abandonment.
How Judges Decide Custody
Judges in Georgia base all custody decisions on what is in the child’s “best interests.” This sounds like a nebulous concept because it is. A judge is empowered to look at all relevant information and decide what is best for the child. Our state law identifies some specific factors a judge should consider:
- The bond between each parent and the child
- How involved each parent has been in the child’s life up to this point
- The child’s bond with siblings
- Each parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs
- The child’s need for stability
- The child’s wishes and goals
- The unique circumstances of every family
Georgia law prefers that each parent have contact, so obtaining sole custody is not realistic in most cases. However, our lawyers will find evidence necessary to convince a judge that you should have as much time as possible with your children.
Working Toward an Agreement
Parents set themselves up best for successful co-parenting when they craft parenting plans that work for them. If you leave everything up to a judge, you’ll probably be unhappy with your parenting plan. To that end, we encourage clients to participate in mediation and can assist in the process. Negotiation does require some “give and take.” But it is often possible to arrive at a mutually-acceptable solution.
Experienced Marietta Child Custody Attorneys
Let Buckhead Family Law represent you by calling us today to schedule an initial consultation. There is so much on the line when it comes to custody, and parents should not represent themselves.