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After the breakdown of a marriage, finding the new normal for your family may raise a lot of issues, including what to do for your children to ensure that their lives stay as ordinary as possible.

Even if your divorce was amicable, there are many areas of your child’s life that are affected by custody agreements that you may not have considered. For example, you and your former partner may have different parenting styles that can create conflict when parenting separately. Handling these and other issues can be made easier with the help of a local family law attorney. Consulting with an experienced Gwinnett County child custody lawyer can help ensure that all these issues are thoroughly considered to help your child flourish after a divorce.

Best Interests of the Child

The most important person in determining child custody is neither of the parents, but the child. The needs of the child come before the needs of the parents. When evaluating which parent should have custody, the court will look at the best interests of the child.

While this may appear unfair or biased to one or both parents, in actuality, the court is impartial to the parents’ interests and is doing what it determines to be the most beneficial for the child.

It is important to remember that as the child ages, the custody arrangement may have to be modified to continue providing adequate care in the child’s best interests. Georgia family courts may grant a modification after child custody has been determined only if there are new or changed material conditions that substantially impacts the child’s interests. These can include:

  • Relocation;
  • Abuse and neglect;
  • Parental alienation;
  • Failure to meet a child’s medical or educational needs; and
  • Child 14 years or older signs a custody election affidavit.

A Gwinnett County attorney can help parents create and adapt custody arrangements that suit their child’s changing needs. They can work closely with parents to create a detail-oriented plan that will reflect the best interests of their children.

Types of Custody in Gwinnett County

Under Georgia Code Section 19-9-3, there are two different types of custody that must be determined. First, there is physical custody, which primarily concerns where the child will live. The court may award joint physical custody, in which the child will split their time between both parents; primary physical custody, in which the child lives primarily with one parent and has visitation with the other; or sole custody where the child lives with only one parent and does not have visitation time with the other parent

The second form of custody is legal custody, which refers to who has the right to make decisions on behalf of the child. Questions that are determined by the parent with legal custody include:

  • Medical treatment and care;
  • Where the child will attend school;
  • The child’s religious adherence; and
  • The child’s participation in extracurricular sports and activities.

Like physical custody, a parent may be awarded joint legal custody or sole legal custody. If the parents are awarded joint legal custody, they will have to work together to make these important decisions for their child. One parent is usually given final decision-making authority in the event that the parents cannot agree.

A dedicated child custody attorney can help parents navigate the different factors that affect a child custody determination and work with them to create a parenting plan that reflects the best interests of their child.

Contact a Gwinnett Child Custody Attorney Today

If you are dealing with custody issues, reach out to a Gwinnett County child custody lawyer. They know these issues are emotionally taxing for you and your child and can be a valuable ally to give you strength and confidence during legal proceedings.

A practiced child custody attorney has worked with many families like yours, and their practical knowledge can help determine different custody arrangements that may work for your family. Call today to learn how an attorney can help your family.

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