Divorce for Families With Minor Children in Atlanta, GA

Parents with young children considering divorce have a lot to think about. You must decide how you will share parenting responsibilities and help your children adjust to spending time in separate households.

Understanding what the law requires is critical. Divorce for families with minor children in Atlanta, GA requires you to develop a parenting plan that addresses custody, decision-making, dispute resolution, and child support. You also must take a parenting class.

When you are divorcing, you need a skilled legal team to help you meet your goals. Our team of family law professionals can guide you through all aspects of divorce.

Parents’ Legal Obligations When Divorcing

When parents of minor children file for divorce in Atlanta, the family court will order them to complete a parenting class. The class is offered in-person or online and parents are encouraged to take it early in the divorce process. It presents information about how divorce impacts children and how parents can help their children manage the transition.

Parents of minor children must develop a parenting plan describing how they will raise their children together while living apart. The plan must include considerable detail about decision-making responsibility, transportation, when the children will stay with each parent, and similar issues.

The parenting plan is likely to be most effective when parents create it themselves. When parents cannot agree, each would submit a parenting plan to the family court. The judge then chooses the one that best serves the children’s interests or imposes a different plan.

Child Custody and Support Basics

Before negotiating their parenting plan, parents must understand the legal terms and policies relevant to custody. Physical custody means where the child lives most of the time, and legal custody means the right to make major decisions for the child. Parents can share physical and legal custody.

The Official Code of Georgia §19-9-3 sets forth the state’s policy regarding all child custody issues. It encourages arrangements that provide children the opportunity to have meaningful relationships with both their parents. Similarly, it encourages parents to share decision-making responsibility.

Each Atlanta, GA parent has an obligation to support their children financially after a divorce. A parent cannot waive child support even if they do not need the money. A formula determines the minimum payment for each family, but other factors can influence the amount of the payment. A family law attorney from our firm can help a couple calculate an appropriate payment in a specific case.

Understanding the Best Interests of the Child Standard

Judges must prioritize the best interests of the children when deciding any issue impacting them. Parents’ needs and preferences are secondary. Even when divorcing spouses agree on a parenting plan, the Atlanta family court judge must still review it to ensure it furthers the children’s best interests.

The law gives judges some guidance about factors to evaluate when considering the children’s best interests. Some of these factors include the:

  • Bonds between each parent and each child;
  • Capacity of each parent to provide a safe, appropriate, and loving home;
  • Mental and physical health of each parent;
  • Stability of the children’s current home and the desirability of maintaining them in that home;
  • Particular health, educational, and emotional needs of each child and each parent’s ability to meet them;
  • Ability of each parent to adapt their work schedule and other responsibilities to meet the children’s needs.

Children 14 and older can choose the parent they live with, and the family court judge will honor their wishes unless there is evidence that doing so is not in the child’s interests. Judges can consider the wishes of younger children and give them whatever weight seems appropriate given the child’s apparent maturity. Our attorneys can provide guidance on how local judges evaluate children’s opinions about which parent they live with.

Consult an Atlanta Attorney When Considering Divorce With Minor Children

Divorce is difficult on both parents and children. Knowing what to expect can make it a little easier.

Work with a family law attorney with experience handling divorces for families with minor children in Atlanta, GA. Get started by calling the Atlanta Divorce Law Group today.

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