Learning about Child Custody in Georgia

Learning about Child Custody in Georgia

cobb county child custody lawyer

Because of the intricacies of Georgia state law, whether you’re seeking sole custody of your child or you’ve agreed to share custody with your former partner, you should consider speaking with a Cobb County 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:

At the moment I’m a noncustodial parent, but I’d like to get custody of my son. How do I do that?

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.

Will a judge award grandparents custody or visitation rights?

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.

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?

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 state law permits temporary changes to parenting plans for military children, you should consult a lawyer to understand how you may modify your plan and who you can designate to care for your child.

Source: Official Code of Georgia. This information was prepared as a public service of the State of Georgia to provide general information, not to advise on any specific legal problem. It is not, and cannot be construed to be, legal advice.

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

What Custody Arrangement is Best for My Child? Ages and Stages of Children in Georgia Child Custody Cases

As we approach the January 1, 2008, implementation date for HB 369, the Georgia Shared Parenting Act, we are mindful of the new requirements for parenting plans in Georgia divorce and other Georgia family law cases involving custody (joint or shared) of minor children. The 9th Judicial Administrative District Office of Dispute Resolution, covering the courts in most of North Central and Northeast Georgia (Superior Courts of Cherokee County, Fannin County,  Forsyth County, Gilmer County, Gwinnett County, Habersham County, Hall County, Lumpkin County, Pickens County, Rabun County, Stephens County, Towns County, Union County, and White County), has prepared a helpful pamphlet called “What’s Best for My Child? (Ages and Stages of Children). You can find it here or it is included below.

SOURCE:9th Judicial Administrative District Office of Dispute Resolution

Related Posts:

An Analysis of Georgia House Bill 369: Parenting Plans

What is a Parenting Plan?

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