Georgia Child Custody FAQs

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If you’re pursuing child custody in Georgia, it’s important to partner with an attorney who can fight for the best possible outcome. Discover the answers to the below Custody FAQs, then contact Mickey Kicklighter today:

What is the difference between physical and legal custody?

Physical custody refers to the parent who the child lives with for the majority of the time. Physical custody can be sole or joint. Joint physical custody means that both parents have custody of the child, and the amount of time each parent is legally allowed to have is ordered by the court or determined in mediation.

Legal custody allows one parent to be deemed the decision maker on topics such as health, religion, and education. However, legal custody can also be sole or joint. If joint legal custody is awarded to both parents, there is one parent who is assigned the primary custodial role. The custodial role gives this parent the final say in decisions in the event that an agreement cannot be reached.

What factors contribute to “the best interest of the child”?

In Georgia, a judge determines the “best interest of the child” by considering many factors. If you’re contemplating a divorce and know your spouse will want custody of your child, it’s important to know that the judge will consider elements such as:

  • Basic ability to provide for the child
  • Child’s relationship to siblings within the home
  • Home environment
  • Physical, emotional, & mental health/stability of the parents
  • Prior history of any form of abuse or criminal activity
  • Prior parent involvement in the child’s life

Can child custody orders be modified?

Yes, child custody orders can be modified but two elements must be present. First, your attorney must prove that a substantial change has occurred since the original child custody orders were finalized. For example, a planned move by the custodial parent or a request by the child to change custodial parents (if the child is of age) are considered substantial changes. Second, the modification must reflect the child’s best interests.

If you have questions about these child custody FAQs, don’t hesitate to contact Kicklighter Law.

Legitimation FAQS

Home » Family Law

In light of Father’s Day approaching on June 20, we wanted to share helpful answers to frequently asked questions about legitimation. There are roughly 1.5 million births occurring each year in America to unmarried women, resulting in the same number of fathers not having legal rights to their children. Allow us to shed light on this important topic by answering four FAQs:


If you have a child out of wedlock in Georgia, you have two routes to choose from regarding claiming the child as your own – paternity and legitimation. Paternity establishes the biological, father/child relationship but it gives you no legal right to the child. Legitimation validates the relationship in the eyes of the law, giving you the right to request custody, visitation, etc.


No, a father does not have legal rights even if he is listed on the birth certificate. However, your name on the birth certificate does allow the mother to seek child support from you. Your name on the birth certificate – given voluntarily, not covertly by the mother – is a recognition of paternity even if you have not performed a paternity test.


No, only the presumed-to-be biological father can file for legitimation in Georgia. Typically, the biological father will file for legitimation in the county in which the child lives.


If a mother contests the father’s pursuit for legitimation stating that he isn’t the father, a paternity test will need to be done, and it would be wise to partner with a family law attorney. A skilled attorney can guide you through this stressful event to fight for the best possible result.

Contact the Kicklighter Law team at 912-754-6003 
to schedule a consultation!

Partner with Kicklighter Law for Your Family Law Needs

Whether you’re pursuing a divorce, adoption, legitimation, or any other family law need, Kicklighter Law is ready to guide you toward the best possible outcome! Talk to us today about your case: 912-754-6003

How Child Support is Calculated in Georgia

Child support can be a difficult and confusing challenge to face after a divorce. The calculations for the amount each parent is responsible to pay can be complex, and it’s important you have an experienced, knowledgeable family law attorney to guide you through each step.

How are Payments Calculated?

In Georgia, the court considers multiple factors in determining child support payments including the number of children and income of each parent. Income calculations include

  • Salary
  • Bonuses
  • Lottery winnings
  • Pensions or retirement accounts
  • Unemployment benefits

The Georgia Child Support Commission provides a child support calculator to determine payments. Be sure to consult an experienced family law attorney, like the team at Kicklighter Law, for help calculating accurate child support payments.

Can I Modify My Payments?

Sometimes, calculated payments can be modified if you experience a change in life circumstances. However, it’s important to note that every case is different. You may qualify for a child support payment modification if you experience:

  • Involuntary job loss
  • Sudden change in income
  • Change in marital status

Just because you experience one of the listed major life events doesn’t necessarily mean you will be granted a child support modification. If you think you need a child support payment modification, contact the expert family law attorneys at Kicklighter Law.

Call Our Experienced Family Law Attorneys at 912-754-6003

4 Family-Friendly New Year’s Resolutions

It seems like with each passing year, people’s lives get a bit more hectic and busier. It’s important to remember what’s most important in life, and for many people, it’s the people in your home. This year, consider making a few family-friendly New Year’s resolutions to increase quality time and family bonding. Here are a few suggestions:

New Year’s Resolution: Set Aside a Technology-Free Night

Technology is incredible in so many ways, but it does tend to consume the attention of even the youngest people. This year, set aside one night a week to switch off your phones, tablets, and TVs, and have quality time together. You can play board games, make dinner together, or walk around the neighborhood.

New Year’s Resolution: Make More Homemade Meals

The dinner table is one of the best places to have great conversations. When you stay home for dinner, you won’t be distracted by other people in restaurants and you’ll save money! If you have kids, consider asking them to help you make the meal to get them involved.

New Year’s Resolution: Plan a Family Vacation

Life can get so busy with work, school, and extra-curricular activities. But, if there isn’t time for fun and relaxation, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed with stress. This year, plan a vacation for the whole family! It doesn’t have to be expensive. You can stay at a local campground, visit extended family, or plan a “day-vacation” at the local beach.

Last of the New Year’s Resolutions: Go Outside More

One of the best things for kids and adults alike is to get fresh air. Being in nature and getting fresh air is great for your mind, emotions, and body! Make a family-friendly new year’s resolution to be outside for at least 30 minutes every day. Outside activities that your kids will surely love include bike riding at a local trail, jumping on the trampoline, swimming at the pool, playing at new playgrounds, and exploring unique state parks.

If you need assistance with any family law needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Kicklighter Law attorneys. Contact us today.


Call Us: 912-754-6003

412 North Laurel Street
Springfield, GA 31329

Telephone: 912-754-6003
Fax: 912-754-6336

Email: [email protected]

Providing Superior Representation All Across Georgia.