Learning about Child Custody in Georgia

Learning about Child Custody in Georgia

Child Custody Attorneys in Georgia

Because of the intricacies of state law, whether you’re seeking sole custody of your child or you’ve agreed to share child custody in Georgia with your former partner, you should consider speaking with a family law attorney prior to your child custody hearing.

What You Should Know:
  • Before arriving at your child custody hearing, you and your former partner should craft a parenting plan that outlines a number of details including:
    • a parenting time schedule, with an outline making clear who the child will spend time with for each day of the year
    • an agreement about how the child will spend holidays and vacations
    • a proposal for transportation arrangements and drop-off points when a child leaves one parent to visit the other
    • an agreement about how a parent may contact a child when that child is in the other parent’s care.
  • During the initial custody proceedings, the judge will act with your child’s best interests in mind, listening to the points made by both you and your former partner and considering carefully your child’s health, safety and comfort. After the judge awards custody, this decision cannot be amended unless there’s a significant change in family circumstance.
  • The judge may opt to grant either sole custody or joint custody. In the first of these custody types, the judge may approve visitation rights for the noncustodial parent, but otherwise, the noncustodial parent cannot exercise legal authority on the child’s behalf. In the second of these custody types, the parents may share in their child’s legal and physical custody, making decisions together about their child’s education, medical care and religious upbringing and each enjoying roughly equal parenting time.
  • When your child turns 14, she/he may choose who she/he wants to live with, and she/he may request a change in custody once every two years thereafter.
  • At least 30 days before a move, a custodial parent must write a letter to inform a noncustodial parent or other family member with visitation rights of a new address.
  • Once every two years the family law court may review and modify parent visitation rights, although custody rights may only be reviewed and modified if there’s a significant change in family circumstance.
FAQs:
Q: At the moment I’m a noncustodial parent, but I’d like to get custody of my son. How do I do that?

A: You’ll need to visit the Superior Court in the custodial parent’s county of residence and fill out a petition for change of custody. At the hearing you’ll need to offer proof that you’ve recently noticed a material change in family circumstance that directly affects your son’s interest and well-being. Minor changes only in living condition will not persuade a judge to approve a new custody decision.

Q: Will a judge award grandparents custody or visitation rights?

A: Although judges may award grandparents these rights, family law courts consider the rights of natural parents first. When either or both the mother and father are competent and willing to care for the child, the judge will grant custody preferentially to that natural parent.

Q: I’m a military parent exercising joint custody of my daughter, and I’ve just found that I’ll be deployed. Before I leave, what do I need to do?

A: Within two weeks of learning of your deployment, you’ll need to send a written notice to your former partner explaining how your service will affect your parenting time. If you’ve received notice in less than two weeks before deployment, you must send that written notice immediately. Because Georgia child custody law permits temporary changes to parenting plans for military children, you should consult a child custody lawyer to understand how you may modify your plan and who you can designate to care for your child.

State Bar Family Law Section to Launch Helpline for Child Support Worksheets

Help for un-represented low and moderate-income Georgians who need help with the state’s mandated Child Support Worksheets is now available. The Family Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia has launched its Child Support Worksheet Helpline, a free service to provide one-time assistance for producing Child Support Worksheets for filing in the state’s superior and juvenile courts.

Georgia’s Child Support Worksheets provide the framework for determining the appropriate amount of child support under Georgia law. The child support calculator is used to enter the financial information of both parents to calculate the appropriate amount of child support according to Georgia’s statutory Child Support Guidelines.

Volunteer lawyers from the State Bar of Georgia Family Law Section will assist callers with the calculator and preparing the required Child Support Worksheets. Un-represented litigants needing help with the child support calculator can call (404) 526-8609. A volunteer lawyer will then work with the caller to prepare Child Support Worksheets for his or her case. The Child Support Worksheets will be emailed or mailed to the caller.

The Family Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia has over 1500 members and seeks to educate its members through continuing education and monitoring and reporting on legislation. The Child Support Helpline is an opportunity for the Section members to give back to Georgians in need of legal services who cannot afford it.

Georgia Legal Services Program, which serves 154 mostly rural counties outside metro Atlanta, is partnering with the Section to launch the pilot project. GLSP receives many calls daily from people looking for legal help in connection with child support. The legal aid program will refer many of those callers to the new Child Support Helpline. “We’re very grateful to the Family Law Section for this innovative service. There’s a great demand for basic information about child support and for help with child support calculations,” says Mike Monahan, the director of the Pro Bono Project of the State Bar.

Rebecca Crumrine Rieder, the Chairman of the Family Law Section made a pro-bono project for the Section a priority of her tenure, “the Family Law Section is excited to be offering Georgians this service. There is a need for help with child support worksheets for un-represented litigants and we are glad to marshal the Section’s vast membership and provide a resource that will benefit not only the individuals who use it but also the courts and clerks who too often have to turn people away for not having the proper documents to complete their cases.”

The State Bar of Georgia, with offices in Atlanta, Savannah and Tifton, was established in 1964 by Georgia’s Supreme Court as the successor to the voluntary Georgia Bar Association, founded in 1884. All lawyers licensed to practice in Georgia belong to the State Bar. Its more than 47,000 members work together to strengthen the constitutional promise of justice for all, promote principles of duty and public service among Georgia’s lawyers, and administer a strict code of legal ethics.

Marietta Divorce Lawyer’s Guide to Cobb County Divorcing Parents Seminar in 2014

Marietta Divorce Lawyer’s Guide to Cobb County Divorcing Parents Seminar in 2014

As a Marietta divorce lawyer and Cobb County child custody attorney, I inform all clients in divorce cases and other family law cases involving parents of minor children in Cobb County that they must attend a court-mandated seminar for divorcing parents. The following is a summary of the seminar and dates for it in Cobb County in 2014.

Because of the extremely emotional nature of divorce and its impact on children, the Cobb County Superior Court Judges enacted a local rule of court mandating divorcing parents of children under the age of 18 to attend a four hour educational seminar entitled “Helping Children Cope With Divorce: A Seminar for Divorcing Parents.” The purpose of the seminar is to provide parents with information on topics including the divorce process and how it impacts children, developmental stages of children, communication skills, identifying when a child may need help, and realistic expectations about step families.

The course is conducted by professional counselors who can help the parents identify and respond to the best interest of their children. The class is offered three times each month (see the online registration form for a schedule) at a cost of $30.00 per participant. Evaluations of this seminar have consistently shown that at least 94% of past participants felt that the course was helpful to them during the divorce process.

Please do not bring children to the workshop. They will not be allowed into the classroom and child care is not provided.

For further information, please call the ADR office at (770) 528-1812.

You will complete the seminar by attending ONE Thursday morning seminar OR by attendingTWO Monday evening seminars.

* Denotes change in regular schedules

2013 Schedule 
 Thursday Morning Classes
8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m
 Monday Evening Classes
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
November 7th or 21st
December 5th or 19th
November 11th and 18th
December 9th and 16th

* Denotes change in regular schedules

2014 Schedule 
   
 Thursday Morning Classes
8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m
             Monday Evening Classes
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
*January 9th or 16th
February 6th or 20th
March 6th or 20th
April 3rd or 17th
May 1st or 15th
June 5th or 19th
July 3rd or 17th
August 7th or 21st
September 4th or 18th
October 2nd or 16th
November 6th or 20th
December 4th or 18th
*January 13th and 27th
February 10th and 17th
March 10th and 17th
April 14th and 21st
May 12th and 19th
June 9th and 16th
July 14th and  21st
August 11th and 18th
September 8th and 15th
October 13th and 20th
November 10th and 17th
December 8th and 15th

* Denotes change in regular schedules

Location:

The location for all classes will be:

Cobb County Superior Court South Building
(Building “D” 3rd Floor, Courtroom O) 
30 Waddell Street
Marietta, GA 30090-9642

Driving Directions

Marietta Square Map

SOURCE: Superior Court of Cobb County

 

 

 

Cobb County Child Custody Lawyer Shares A Children’s Bill of Rights

Cobb County Child Custody Lawyer Shares A Children’s Bill of Rights

As a Cobb County divorce and child custody attorney, I see all too often that the parents going through a divorce or custody fight forget how the divorce affects their children. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers publishes the following article on its website:

cobb county child custody lawyer

CHILDREN’S BILL OF RIGHTS
WHEN PARENTS ARE NOT TOGETHER

Every kid has rights, particularly when mom and dad are splitting up. Below are some things parents shouldn’t forget — and kids shouldn’t let them — when the family is in the midst of a break-up.

You have the right to love both your parents. You also have the right to be loved by both of them. That means you shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to see your dad or your mom at any time. It’s important for you to have both parents in your life, particularly during difficult times such as a break-up of your parents.

You do not have to choose one parent over the other. If you have an opinion about which parent you want to live with, let it be known. But nobody can force you to make that choice. If your parents can’t work it out, a judge may make the decision for them.

You’re entitled to all the feelings you’re having. Don’t be embarrassed by what you’re feeling. It is scary when your parents break up, and you’re allowed to be scared. Or angry. Or sad. Or whatever.

You have the right to be in a safe environment. This means that nobody is allowed to put you in danger, either physically or emotionally. If one of your parents is hurting you, tell someone — either your other parent or a trusted adult like a teacher.

You don’t belong in the middle of your parents’ break-up. Sometimes your parents may get so caught up in their own problems that they forget that you’re just a kid, and that you can’t handle their adult worries. If they start putting you in the middle of their dispute, remind them that it’s their fight, not yours.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are still part of your life. Even if you’re living with one parent, you can still see relatives on your other parent’s side. You’ll always be a part of their lives, even if your parents aren’t together anymore.

You have the right to be a child. Kids shouldn’t worry about adult problems. Concentrate on your school work, your friends, activities, etc. Your mom and dad just need your love. They can handle the rest.

IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT AND DON’T BLAME YOURSELF.

SOURCE: American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

Cobb County Divorce Lawyer on Mistakes to Avoid When Telling Your Kids About Your Divorce

Cobb County Divorce Lawyer on Mistakes to Avoid When Telling Your Kids About Your Divorce

RosalindSedacca

Rosalind Sedacca has some great information I wanted to share with you as my readers:

“Getting psyched up to tell your children about your pending divorce – or separation? Not sure what to say? When to say it? How to say it? What to expect after the conversation? What to do next? How do deal with your special circumstances? What therapists, mediators, attorneys, clergy and other professionals suggest you do and don’t do to make things better all around? Well, you’re not alone.

Having the “divorce talk” with a child you love is one of the toughest conversations you’ll ever have. Shouldn’t you be prepared?

Professionals all agree on some of the most common mistakes parents make when bringing up divorce or separation. These include:

* asking children to bear the weight of making decisions or choosing sides
* failing to remind children that none of this is in any way their fault
* forgetting to emphasize that Mom and Dad will still always be their Mom and Dad — even after divorce!
* confiding adult details to children in order to attract their allegiance or sympathy
* neglecting to repeatedly remind children that they are safe, innocent and very much loved
* failing to explain clearly that everything is going to be okay.

These are just some of the most common messages that parents fail to convey because they’re just not prepared — and most probably quite scared!

If you’re about to tackle this tough conversation — or you know someone who is — there’s finally help you can depend on to simplify the process. I just completed writing How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide(TM) that Prepares Your Children — with Love! It provides an innovative new concept I created, based on my own life experience. And, most importantly, it works!

To learn more about this new therapist-, attorney- and mediator-endorsed guidebook for parents, click on the link below. You’ll get the whole story of how the easy-to-use template works, how you and your children will benefit from this personalized family storybook approach — and much more. Most important of all, this simple guidebook doesn’t just tell you what to say – it says it for you! So you’re sure to do it right, for the sake of your kids.”

Click here to learn more …
http://www.howdoitellthekids.com

MEET ROSALIND SEDACCA, CCT
Rosalind Sedacca is a writer, an award-winning professional speaker, and Certified Corporate Trainer specializing in both communication and relationship issues. She has facilitated workshops and seminars throughout the United States and beyond on creating ‘conscious’ relationships for both singles and couples. Based on her own personal experience, her new book How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children – with Love! provides an innovative and professionally acclaimed new approach to breaking the divorce news to your children. Rosalind’s Child-Centered Divorce Network provides resources that help parents create successful outcomes for the entire family for years and decades to come.

Georgia Family Lawyer Highlights Article on Divorce and Children

As a Georgia family lawyer, I have seen my fair share of courtroom battles. The saddest of these place the children of the marriage squarely in the middle. A recent news article explains how parents can avoid doing that. The article emphasizes that parents should remember:

  • They will be connected forever. Parents must stay in touch with one another as co-parents and then as co-grandparents.
  • They must maintain boundaries between adult problems and children. Children should be allowed to remain unburdened by adult problems. Children lack the coping skills and intellectual ability to understand adult concerns. They also must process their own feelings regarding the divorce.
  • They must make transitions smoothly. Children get stressed when they are shuffled from home to home. Transitions should be brief and respectful. Children should not be asked to relay messages back and forth.
  • They must be flexible. Parents must cooperate. Life changes, and parents should be mature enough to make some adaptations when necessary.
  • They should deliver solid parenting. The quality of parenting can suffer during a divorce. A parent might be more focused on issues related to the divorce and on adjusting to a new phase in life. Parents should try to be the best parents they can be.

Our Marietta, Georgia family law firm handles both litigated and collaborative divorces. Contact the Georgia family law attorneys at Georgia Family Law: Worrall Law LLC for more information. You may reach us by calling 770.425.6060 or by filling out an online contact form.