Child custody issues are usually the most contentious issue of a divorce involving children. Child custody arrangements can differ greatly from one case to the next and having a qualified Johns Creek child custody lawyer in your corner is essential to creating the arrangement that is best for your family.
If you are faced with a custody dispute, you should consult with a dedicated family attorney with ample experience in child custody conflicts to advise you on all your legal options for obtaining new or modified custody arrangements. Consulting with an attorney at the first sign of a custody dispute is important, as they will then be well-versed in your case and able to best represent you in court to help ensure you receive the best possible outcome.
Generally, courts decide custody arrangements on a case-by-case basis. All custody orders will address:
“Legal custody” refers in part to the ability of each parent to make decisions regarding the child’s future, including their religious upbringing, education, non-emergency healthcare issues, and extracurricular activities. Often, one parent will responsible for making decisions on one or more of those categories on behalf of the child, and the other parent will make decisions on the remaining categories.
“Physical custody” refers to which parent the child or children will reside with the majority of the time, and includes visitation time for the other, “non-custodial” parent. In most situations, courts grant one parent physical custody for the majority of the time, with the other parent receiving visitation time with the child or children. Fifty-fifty custody, or “joint physical custody” (rather than primary and secondary physical custody) is gaining popularity in some jurisdictions, especially where the parties agree to this sort of an arrangement. When warranted, a court may order that visitation with one parent be supervised.
In any case, where child custody is an issue, Georgia law mandates that both parents submit a parenting plan. Under O.C.G.A. §19-9-1, a parenting plan must include the following:
In a divorce action, both parties are required to submit their proposed parenting plan to the court for consideration. If both parents are able to agree on a single parenting plan, they may submit a joint plan to the court, and it will often be signed and incorporated into the final judgment and decree of divorce. However, if one parent fails to submit an adequate parenting plan, the court may adopt the plan of the other parent. Therefore, any parent in Johns Creek with questions on parenting plans or other child custody issues should ask a knowledgeable attorney.
Under O.C.G.A. §19-9-1.1, parents may agree to binding arbitration of any child custody issue. Such issues may include disputes regarding visitation rights, parenting plans, or parenting time.
Parents are able to select which issues they will decide in arbitration. They also have the right to choose the arbiter. A court will not overturn an arbitration decision unless it explicitly finds that the decision is not in the best interests of the child or children. One of our Johns Creek attorneys can provide more information on the arbitration process and how it could help parents resolve child custody disputes.
If you need help with a child custody issue in Johns Creek, be sure to contact a knowledgeable attorney. A qualified attorney may be critical in ensuring that you receive the best possible custody award for you.
One of our passionate lawyers would be happy to review your case, including any previous court orders or proceedings, and discuss with you your legal options. Then, they could work with you to develop a strategy to find a child custody arrangement that works for your family’s unique needs. Regardless of your current situation, our goal is to help you receive the best custody arrangement possible. Call today to learn more.