Finding yourself in a child custody battle can be overwhelming, especially without qualified legal guidance from an experienced family law attorney. While presenting your children’s needs in court is a highly emotional situation for any parent, a compassionate Milton child custody lawyer can address your case with objective and calculated steps to reach a favorable outcome.

Child Custody Law

In Milton courts, the ultimate goal in a child custody matter is to identify and uphold the children’s best interests. Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-9-3(a)(1) states that there is no presumption that either parent’s wishes are favored over the other.

This means that local judges must carefully consider many factors in order to determine which custodial arrangement would be in the best interests of the kids. For example, the following elements, as well as many others, would influence a judge’s final decision on a custody arrangement:

  • The living situations of both parents;
  • The work schedules of both parents;
  • Both parents’ involvement in the children’s lives;
  • Either parent’s history of criminal activity, drug addiction, or physical or sexual abuse;
  • The children’s relationships with either parent; and
  • The children’s wishes.

Alternatively, if the parties can reach an agreement as to child custody, their proposed parenting plan would be presented to the judge for final approval. While choosing to enter into an agreement can save a lot of time and money for both parties, you should still do so with the professional help and guidance of a Milton child-sharing plan attorney.

What is Legal Custody?

Legal custody gives a parent major-decision-making rights over their child’s healthcare, religion, schooling, and extracurricular activities. Typically though, both parents share legal custody while one retains tie-breaking authority.

What Does Physical Custody Address?

Physical custody addresses where the child lives for the majority of the time. Sole custody may be granted to the parent the child lives with on a regular basis while the other may receive no visitation rights, if that is what the court deems to be in their best interests.

Joint physical custody allows both parents to live with their kids on an alternating basis. Child custody lawyers in Milton find that local courts do not typically favor parents splitting time with their child 50/50, unless doing is found to be in their best interests. Instead, one parent usually has primary physical custody of the child while the other has secondary physical custody.

Parenting Plan

Instead of leaving the decision of child custody to a judge, parents can independently reach an agreement about physical and legal access. However, O.C.G.A. §19-9-5 mandates parents who reach an agreement to submit a parenting plan to a family law judge for final approval.

A parenting plan must address many factors, such as:

  • Which parent retains decision-making rights over the child’s healthcare, religion, schooling, and extracurricular activities;
  • The physical custody arrangement, including regular week schedules, weekends, summer breaks, holidays, and birthdays;
  • Transportation to and from visitation;
  • Any limitations on a parent’s right to contact the child or access their records and information; and
  • Any limitations or restrictions on a parent’s visitation rights.

Consult with a Milton Child Custody Attorney Today

Leaving the decision of child custody to the sole discretion of a judge is a daunting prospect to most parents. A Milton child custody attorney can help you draft a parenting plan with specificity and foresight as well as gather evidence to advocate for your child’s best interests. Whatever your situation, our team has the experience to help you make the best decision possible, so reach out to our intake team today to get started.

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