Georgia Child Custody Laws

CHAPTER 9 CHILD CUSTODY PROCEEDINGS

19-9-1. Custody of children; how determined; discretion of court; right of child 14 or over to select custodial parent; consideration of child’s educational needs; when visitation rights may be reviewed; notification of change in residence; application of Article 3 of this chapter.

(a)(1) In all cases in which a divorce is granted, the party not in default shall be entitled to the custody of the minor children of the marriage. However, in all cases in which a divorce is granted, an application for divorce is pending, or a change in custody of a minor child is sought, the court, in the exercise of a sound discretion, may look into all the circumstances of the parties, including improvement of the health of a party seeking a change in custody provisions, and, after hearing both parties, may make a different disposition of the children, placing them, if necessary, in possession of guardians appointed by the judge of the probate court.

(2) In addition to other factors that a court may consider in a proceeding in which the custody of a child or visitation by a parent is at issue and in which the court has made a finding of family violence:

(A) The court shall consider as primary the safety and well-being of the child and of the parent who is the victim of family violence;

(B) The court shall consider the perpetrator’s history of causing physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or causing reasonable fear of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault to another person;

(C) If a parent is absent or relocates because of an act of domestic violence by the other parent, such absence or relocation for a reasonable period of time in the circumstances shall not be deemed an abandonment of the child or children for the purposes of custody determination; and

(D) The court shall not refuse to consider relevant or otherwise admissible evidence of acts of family violence merely because there has been no previous finding of family violence. The court may, in addition to other appropriate actions, order supervised visitation pursuant to Code Section 19-9-7.

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Georgia Alimony and Child Support Laws

CHAPTER 6 ALIMONY AND CHILD SUPPORT GENERALLY

19-6-1. Alimony defined; when authorized; how determined; lien on estate of party dying prior to order; certain changes in parties’ assets prohibited pending determination.

(a) Alimony is an allowance out of one party’s estate, made for the support of the other party when living separately. It is either temporary or permanent.

(b) A party shall not be entitled to alimony if it is established by a preponderance of the evidence that the separation between the parties was caused by that party’s adultery or desertion. In all cases in which alimony is sought, the court shall receive evidence of the factual cause of the separation even though one or both of the parties may also seek a divorce, regardless of the grounds upon which a divorce is sought or granted by the court.

(c) In all other cases in which alimony is sought, alimony is authorized, but is not required, to be awarded to either party in accordance with the needs of the party and the ability of the other party to pay. In determining whether or not to grant alimony, the court shall consider evidence of the conduct of each party toward the other.

(d) Should either party die prior to the court’s order on the issue of alimony, any rights of the other party to alimony shall survive and be a lien upon the estate of the deceased party.

(e) Pending final determination by the court of the right of either party to alimony, neither party shall make any substantial change in the assets of the party’s estate except in the course of ordinary business affairs and except for bona fide transfers for value.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PATERNITY

WHAT IS PATERNITY?

Paternity means fatherhood, the quality or state of being a father.


WHAT IS A PATERNITY TEST?

A Paternity Test is a DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) or genetic test that determines whether a given man could be the biological father of a child.


ON WHAT GROUNDS CAN I RECEIVE A PATERNITY TEST?

Paternity test are not just used to determine whether an individual is the biological father of a child. A Paternity test is useful in many situations, including:

  • Assisting women seeking child support from a man who denies he is a child s biological father.
  • Helping men attempting to win custody or visitation rights.
  • Providing peace of mind for men wishing to confirm paternity.
  • Establishing proof of heritage for an adopted child seeking their biological parents.
  • Determining grand parentage, inheritance rights, insurance claims or Social Security benefits.
  • Assisting in immigration cases on the grounds an individual is a biological relative of a citizen.
  • Establishing Native American Tribal Rights.
  • Determining rightful heirs by DNA profiling for estate purpose.
  • Providing conclusive evidence of sisterhood or brotherhood for siblings separated for long periods of time.

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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT LEGITIMATIONS

WHAT IS A "LEGITIMATION"?

Legitimation is a legal action which is the only way, other than by marrying the mother of a child, that the biological father of a child born in the State of Georgia may establish legal rights to his child.


WHO MAY FILE FOR LEGITIMATION?

Only the biological father of a child may file a petition seeking to legitimate his child.


WHAT IS THE LEGAL EFFECT OF A LEGITIMATION?

An order of legitimation creates a father and child relationship legally between the petitioner and his child. An order of legitimation establishes that the child may inherit from his legal father and vice versa. An order of legitimation allows the legal father to be listed on the child’s birth certificate as such. An order of legitimation is the only way that the father of a child born out of wedlock can be recognized as the legal father of a child and therefore can petition for custody and/or visitation with this child.

If you are already listed on the child’s birth certificate as the father, but you and the child’s mother were not married to each other, you must still file a petition with the court to legitimate your child.

Effective July 1, 2005, requests for custody and/or visitation may be included in your petition for legitimation.


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Frequently Asked Questions About Common Law Marriage

WHAT IS A COMMON LAW MARRIAGE?

A Common Law Marriage simply means that the marriage was established without benefit of a license and ceremony.


HOW ARE COMMON LAW MARRIAGES ESTABLISHED?

Although the definition may vary from state to state, the common features of a common law marriage are:

  • Cohabitation – the parties lived together.
  • Consent – the parties intended to hold themselves out as husband and wife.
  • Holding out- the parties "held themselves out" to the world as husband and wife (i.e. The parties spoke of each other as "my husband" or "my wife").
  • Neither party was married to someone else.

DO WE HAVE TO LIVE TOGETHER FOR A CERTAIN PERIOD OF TIME TO BE "COMMON LAW MARRIED"?

In most states that recognize common law marriages, there are no time requirements for living together.

In most states that recognize common law marriages, there are no time requirements for living together. The controlling issue is not time together, but the intentions of the parties.


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