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 frequently asked questions about child custody, 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.