If you are a parent going through a divorce, you are likely concerned about determining a custody schedule. However, disagreements with your ex-spouse may make visitation and parenting matters difficult to settle alone. Our legal team is experienced in navigating these types of cases and can help you pursue a positive outcome.

At our firm, we recognize that nothing is more important than your child’s well-being. Discussing your options with a knowledgeable Cherokee County child custody lawyer can help prepare you for legal proceedings and ensure that your parenting rights are protected.

Types of Custody in Cherokee County

In every child custody case, a local family court must address both legal and physical custody. It is essential to understand each type of custody to successfully navigate the process of drafting a child-sharing schedule.

What is Legal Custody?

Legal custody is the authority to be included on making important medical, educational, and religious decisions for a child. Most parents share joint legal custody but there will need to be a designated final decision maker.

In rare cases, a parent may be awarded sole legal custody, which does not require them to communicate about decisions affecting the child or children with the other parent. An experienced attorney can explain each parent’s specific rights and responsibilities under a joint or sole legal custody arrangement in Cherokee County.

What is Physical Custody?

Physical custody defines where the child primarily resides. There are many different types of parenting plans, and it can be as unique as the needs of the family. However, if there is a child abuse conviction, untreated substance abuse disorder, or other circumstances that make it dangerous for a child to be in one parent’s care, the other parent could be granted sole physical custody. In some cases, the family court may award visitation to the noncustodial parent with certain restrictions, such as required supervision by a neutral third party.

Factors in Determining Child Custody

If parents cannot agree on a custodial arrangement for their child, a court must determine custody based on the child’s best interests. Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 19-9-3, certain factors must be considered when making this decision, including but not limited to:

  • The love, bonding, and emotional ties between the parents, the child’s siblings, and the child;
  • Each parent’s capacity to meet the child’s needs;
  • Each parent’s ability to provide medical care, food, and clothing to the child;
  • Each parent’s home environment and whether the child will be nurtured and safe in that environment;
  • Each parent’s mental and physical health;
  • Each parent’s past performance and current ability to parent the child;
  • Each parent’s willingness to encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent.

Additionally, a child who has reached age fourteen may sign an election indicating which parent they want to live with and the Georgia Court’s will consider that a “presumption” that is in the best interest of the child. A seasoned member of our legal team can further explain these factors and their significance for Cherokee County parents seeking child custody.

Other Custody Considerations

Other circumstances may complicate a child custody determination, such as:

  • Grandparent rights – O.C.G.A. §19-7-1 permits a grandparent in Georgia to request custody of a child.
  • Paternity – If a child’s paternity has not been established, a court may order paternity testing, and the confirmed biological father may seek custody.
  • Relocation – If a custodial parent wants to relocate from Georgia, the court may consider a change in custody to the non-relocating parent or adopt a long-distance parenting plan.
  • Violation of a custody order – If one parent repeatedly disregards a custody order, the other parent may request the child’s sole legal and physical custody.

A well-practiced lawyer can further explain the impact of each of these scenarios on a Cherokee County child custody case.

Speak with a Cherokee County Child Custody Attorney

When your relationship with your child is at stake, it is essential to have skilled legal counsel. A Cherokee County child custody lawyer can explain the custody determination process, assist you in gathering evidence, and assertively present your case in family court. Contact our firm today to speak with a member of our team.

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