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There is nothing more important to most parents than spending time with their children. When parents do not live together, determining custody and visitation can be emotionally challenging. A divorced parent who does not share physical custody may be understandably concerned about spending less time with their kids.

Parents who are not awarded physical custody may still petition the court for visitation time. A seasoned Crabapple visitation lawyer at our firm can help you develop a parenting plan that promotes a meaningful relationship with your child. Let our well-versed child custody attorneys advocate for your right to spend time with your kids after a divorce.

How do Judges Determine Visitation in Georgia?

Visitation, also known as parenting time, generally refers to the time a non-custodial parent may spend with their child. When determining a parent’s visitation rights, judges must consider the child’s best interests. To make this determination, the court may assess numerous factors per Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-9-3, including:

  • The love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties between each parent and the child;
  • Each parent’s capacity and disposition to give the child love, affection, and guidance;
  • Each parent’s ability to provide the child food, clothing, medical care, and other day-to-day needs;
  • The importance of continuity in the child’s life and the length of time they have lived in a stable environment; and
  • Each parent’s willingness to encourage a close relationship between the child and their other parent.

It is essential for any parent seeking visitation to understand the weight that the court gives to a child’s best interests. A skilled visitation attorney can explain these factors and how a judge in Crabapple might apply them in a specific case.

What Are Parenting Plans and how do They Impact Visitation?

Under O.C.G.A. §19-9-1, both parents must submit a proposed Parenting Plan to the court in any case where a child’s custody is at issue. A Parenting Plan is a detailed court order that determines each parent’s rights concerning their child(ren). Essentially, a parenting plan dictates how parents will make important decisions for their child and when they will spend time with them, including holidays, birthdays, school breaks, and special occasions.

It is within the court’s discretion to accept either parent’s proposed Parenting Plan or create a different plan that better meets the child’s needs. When a judge issues a final custody order, they will also incorporate a permanent Parenting Plan. An experienced visitation lawyer can help a parent in Crabapple develop a Parenting Plan that complies with state guidelines.

Relationship between Visitation and Child Support

In Georgia, the right to visitation is separate from the right to child support. Accordingly, while financially supporting their child is part of a parent’s responsibilities, they may not be denied time with their child solely because they are behind on child support payments. A parent facing this situation is well-advised to consult a knowledgeable lawyer in Crabapple to discuss how to enforce their visitation rights.

Contact a Visitation Attorney in Crabapple to Learn More

Protecting your legal right to spend quality time with your child is one of the essential considerations in many family law cases. If you and your child’s other parent cannot agree on a viable parenting time schedule, a Crabapple visitation lawyer on our team can assist you. Our firm’s capable attorneys have substantial experience in developing Parenting Plans and presenting visitation requests in Georgia courts and can help you preserve a close and loving relationship with your child. Call today to get started.

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