Divorce for Families With Minor Children in Alpharetta

Divorce is tough for anyone, but especially for families with young children. Any divorce is disruptive, even when the parents part amicably. Children might have trouble adjusting to the change.

Working with an attorney experienced in handling divorce for families with minor children in Alpharetta can help. Our skilled divorce attorneys can explain the decisions you must make and help you reach agreements with your spouse. The more smoothly the divorce proceeds, the easier it is likely to be on your children.

Custody Laws Do Not Favor Either Parent

The law recognizes both parents make an essential contribution to a child’s development. It encourages parents who live apart to each take as active a role as possible in their children’s lives.

Legal custody means the right to make decisions about important issues like the healthcare a child receives, where they go to school, and their religious practices. Physical or residential custody means where the children live most of the time. Parents can share physical and legal custody or they can divide custody in whatever way works best for their family.

The Official Code of Georgia §19-9-1 requires parents living separately to submit a parenting plan to the court. Ideally, parents work together to devise an arrangement both can live with and will provide an easy adjustment for the children. When parents cannot agree on custody matters, they each can present their preferred plan to the court. An Alpharetta parent going through a divorce with minor children should work with an attorney to develop a parenting plan.

Judges Decide Based on the Children’s Best Interests

When a judge must decide any legal matter concerning children, the children’s best interests must be their primary consideration. Judges expect parents to prioritize their children’s needs over their own.

Judges review every parenting plan to evaluate whether it serves the children’s best interests. Some of the issues they consider when making the best interest determination include:

  • Physical and mental health of each parent;
  • Bonds each parent has formed with each child;
  • Capacity of each parent to provide an appropriate home;
  • Schedule of each parent and their ability to be available to care for the children;
  • Willingness and ability of each parent to nurture the children’s bonds with their other parent;
  • Individual physical, emotional, and educational needs of each child and each parent’s ability to meet them.

A judge can consider any other factor they deem relevant to the best interests determination.

Court-Appointed Third Parties

When parents cannot agree on custody, courts sometimes ask a third party to offer an opinion. The judge might appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL), who is usually a lawyer with training in family law matters, to interview the children, parents, and others who might have relevant information. The GAL then reports to the court about what they believe is in the children’s best interests.

The court could also appoint a custody evaluator, who is a mental health professional. They perform psychological tests on the parties and sometimes the children, interview everyone involved, and recommend an outcome. Courts do not have to adopt the recommendations of a GAL or custody evaluator, but their opinions often carry substantial weight. Our Alpharetta attorneys can help a parent prepare for their interactions with a GAL or evaluator during a divorce when minor children are involved.

Other Ways Children Can Impact Divorce

In addition to custody issues, minor children affect divorces in other ways. It is important for parents to consider these issues and how they will impact their lives after the divorce.

Judges often favor keeping children in the family home when possible. If the residential parent receives the family home in the property settlement, they might have to buy out their spouse’s interest in the home. Alternatively, they might receive less of the other marital property. An Alpharetta attorney can help a parent with minor children determine whether keeping the family home is financially feasible in a specific divorce case.

Parenthood also could impact alimony. If one parent postponed or gave up a career to raise the children, they may not be well-positioned to support themselves after the divorce. They could ask the judge to award spousal support. Although alimony is usually a temporary measure until the recipient can become self-supporting, a parent of young children might receive alimony until the children enter high school, or even until they graduate high school.

Contact an Alpharetta Attorney About How Minor Children Impact Divorce

Resolving issues concerning children is often the most difficult part of a divorce. An arrangement that works for everyone requires parents to put their differences aside and work together for the children’s benefit.

Our attorneys handle divorces for families with minor children in Alpharetta frequently. We know how to navigate the difficult issues that can arise in these situations. Reach out today to discuss your circumstances with a member of our team.

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