Atlanta, GA Child Custody Lawyer

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, more than one-third of Atlanta children reside in single-parent households. Kids in these circumstances often spend time at the residences of both of their parents, even if only one of them has primary custody.

When couples who share kids get divorced, arranging an equitable parenting schedule can become a hostile and contentious process. Adept legal intervention from a member of our team may be necessary to achieve a just and reasonable agreement.

If you need help creating a child-sharing plan to allocate quality time with your kids, consider retaining a seasoned family law attorney. A skilled Atlanta, GA child custody lawyer can provide diligent assistance with arranging a parenting plan that is fair to all involved parties.

Parenting Plans in Georgia

If an individual is going through a divorce with children or a modification of custody in the state of Georgia, it is required by law to have a parenting plan. While it is possible to find these online, it is typically not in the best interest of the family to simply download a form and check boxes.

Individuals will need to sit down with an Atlanta child custody attorney and work through what is important so that the team can help create a parenting plan that best considers the family’s needs. This should cover travel arrangements, determining when children get to make religion or education decisions, and identifying how the parents are going to talk to each other so that they have a good co-parenting relationship.

Custody Decisions for the Best Interests of Children

Family courts are required to prioritize the interests of involved children when fashioning a custody order. Per the Official Code of Georgia Annotated §15-11-26, family court decrees must benefit the needs of each child. Ideally, this means the conclusion to a custody case should ensure that the children receive emotional bonding, love, and ties with both parents.

A judge would consider several elements when deciding whether a custody agreement would benefit the children. For example, the ages and interests of the children, as well as the home environments of both parents’ current residences, weigh heavily on a judge’s decision. Fortunately, an experienced Georgia child custody attorney can help parents advocate for their kids’ best interests to a judge.

Custody Wishes of Children

Atlanta courts may allow an older child to have some say in where they want to live. However, the tribunal would have the final deciding power on whether their wishes represent their best interests.

Older children may decide where they want to primarily reside, as O.C.G.A. §19-9-3(a)(5) allows kids aged 14 and older to choose their custodial parent. However, if the court deems that their decision is not in their best interests, it may deny their choice.

Additionally, kids between the ages of 11 and 14 may request to live with either parent. Because of the younger ages of these children, the court could make a temporary order for primary custody that may be revisited after a period of six months. A dedicated child custody lawyer in Georgia may have experience with cases where minors have chosen their primary custodial parent.

Can I Relocate Outside of Georgia with Children?

If an individual is planning to relocate outside of the state of Georgia, it is considered a material change in circumstances that affects the involved children. This allows for the other parent to ask for a modification of custody. They can seek primary custody so the children stay in the state, or they can seek a long-distance parenting plan. Either way, a messy custody battle could ensue without the proper legal advice.

Alternative Mediation

When former partners cannot agree on a child custody arrangement, the courts can order them to attend alternative dispute resolution under O.C.G.A §19-5-1. Alternative dispute resolutions are sometimes court-sponsored amenities which involve a mediator.

A neutral third party might be able to help an estranged couple resolve contested issues regarding the custody of their children. If parties still cannot agree after a session with a mediator, unresolved child-sharing issues may be decided by a judge.

Can Child Custody be Modified After a Final Determination?

There are two ways to achieve a child custody modification, and one is much simpler than the other. If an individual is seeking solely to change the timeshare between the parties because it is no longer working for the family or the children, they can consult a Georgia court at any point in time. It is important to convey that it is in the best interest of the children to modify the parenting plan.

The other option is more challenging and involves a material change in circumstance to even have the opportunity to petition family court for a change. This would be the case if an individual wishes to change from joint custody to full custody or vice versa. For example, if a child is no longer doing well in school, a parent could request to be named the final decision maker on education.

Regardless of the particular situation, speaking with a qualified child custody attorney at the Atlanta Divorce Law Group can improve the chances of a favorable legal outcome.

Call an Atlanta, GA Child Custody Attorney Today

There are many factors that a couple must consider when they split up, including and especially child custody. A knowledgeable Atlanta, GA child custody lawyer can assist with arranging child-sharing schedules as part of a written agreement. Call today to schedule a consultation with a legal professional skilled in this area of family law.

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