Types of Custody in Sandy Springs

Deciding to live apart from your co-parent is a big step. You must consider how the change will affect your children and decide how you and your co-parent will raise them.

Some parents can easily agree on these issues, but for most, it requires a candid evaluation of each parent’s resources and help navigating child custody laws. Understanding the types of custody in Sandy Springs is the first step in resolving these issues.

Our local family law attorneys can guide you through the process. We can review your parenting plan, ensure it meets legal requirements, and help you obtain your desired custody arrangement.

How the Courts Decide Custody Issues

The Official Code of Georgia §19-9-3 governs child custody in the state. It explicitly states that custody decisions may not be based on gender. Both parents have equal custody rights.

All custody decisions in Sandy Springs must be determined by the child’s best interests. When a family judge considers the custody arrangement that best serves the child, they will evaluate the quality of the child’s relationship with each parent, the stability of the parents’ respective homes, each parent’s willingness and ability to address the child’s particular needs, and any other factors that seem relevant.

Parents must prepare a parenting plan for the court’s approval describing how they will raise their children. The judge will approve it only if their review finds that it serves the children’s best interests. When the parents cannot agree on a plan, each submits their preferred plan to the family court, and the judge will select the one that best supports the children.

The Meaning of Legal Custody

Any Sandy Springs parenting plan must contain the parents’ decision regarding legal custody. This term is sometimes misunderstood. Legal custody means the right to make significant decisions about the children’s upbringing.

Day-to-day decisions like the chores a child is responsible for, when they do their homework, and how they are punished for misbehavior are the responsibility of the parent who is supervising the child at the time. Legal custody confers the right to make decisions about the child’s religion, education, and healthcare.

The law favors arrangements that allow both parents influence over the child’s upbringing. Shared legal custody is favored when the parents can work together to make important decisions. Parents proposing to share legal custody must include a method for resolving disagreements between them in the parenting plan.

Common Physical Custody Arrangements

The parent with physical custody provides the home where the children live most of the time. When one parent has primary physical custody of the children, the other parent usually has substantial parenting time. Although the traditional arrangement was for the mother to have primary physical custody and the father to have time with the children every other weekend, modern arrangements typically allow the father more time.

Parents can share physical custody, which usually means the children live with the non-residential parent at least 30 percent of the time. Parents can also have joint custody arrangements, where the children spend roughly half the time with each parent. Judges will approve joint custody arrangements when:

  • Both parents request it;
  • The parents can demonstrate that the arrangement will not be disruptive to the children; and,
  • The parents have a civil relationship that can withstand frequent contact.

A Sandy Springs attorney can help a parent present a persuasive argument in favor of joint custody.

Work With a Sandy Springs Attorney to Understand the Different Types of Custody

If you are getting a divorce or separating from your co-parent, you must resolve multiple issues regarding child custody. Understanding the types of custody in Sandy Springs is a necessary first step, but then you must decide what is best for your family.

An experienced custody attorney can be an enormous help as you work out these issues with your co-parent. Schedule a consultation with a member of our team today.

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