Child Custody Decisions in Georgia
How Do Georgia Courts decide Child Custody Arrangements?
Georgia state law governing child custody is somewhat unique compared to other states. This is because Georgia state law grants a child who has reached the age of 14 the right to select the parent with whom they wish to live in the event of a divorce or a separation. If the child has indicated a preference for one parent, their selection will be controlling and cannot be contested unless that parent is deemed unfit for custody.
If the child has not selected a parent, or if they are less than 14 years old, the court will consider various factors in order to determine which type of custody arrangement meets the best interests of the child.
What factors are used in determining full custody?
Generally, any decision rendered by the court must serve the best interests of the child, rather than an individual parent. A court will examine the following factors when determining custody:
• Basic information of the child such as age, gender, educational level, and any special mental or physical needs
• The child’s history of interaction with each parent, especially the degree of emotional attachment to the parent
• Any instances of prior abuse or violence by a parent towards the child
• The ability of either parent to facilitate and encourage continued contact between the child and the non-custodial parent
• Any other information regarding each parent and their ability to contribute to the child’s well-being and happiness
Are there any other considerations specific to Georgia child custody law?
Yes, as an alternative to granting one parent full custody, a Georgia court may appoint different types of custody, including any combination of joint legal and joint physical custody as deemed appropriate. Also, if a custodial parent intends to relocate out of the state of Georgia with their child, they are required to provide a certain number of day’s notice before leaving the jurisdiction.
Should I contact a Georgia lawyer regarding my child custody issues?
Decisions regarding child custody could have lasting consequences for all parties, so it is important to obtain the expert advice of a Georgia lawyer regarding these matters. Also, child custody law can be complex, especially if each parent resides in a different state. For this reason, the services of a lawyer can be indispensable.
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Last Modified: 06-11-2010 03:57 PM PDT
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