The term “legal custody” is used to describe a series of rights that parents have regarding their minor child. They primarily include the right to make important decisions about their children’s upbringing.
If you have questions about legal child custody in Suwanee, now is the time to seek help from our team. The right legal counsel can ensure your parental rights are protected. Let a dedicated child custody attorney serve as your advocate as you navigate the legal system.
The central aspect of legal custody in Suwanee is the right to decide what is best for a child. These decisions cover every aspect of a juvenile’s upbringing. This starts with choices related to their medical care. From selecting a primary physician to determining when elective surgery is necessary, these decisions are critical.
Also included are choices involving their education. A parent with legal custody can decide between public and private school. They can also decide other important issues like religious upbringing.
In addition, it is helpful to understand what is not included with these rights. Physical custody rights, which involve the ability to determine where the minor child lives, are entirely separate from legal custody. The family court can make a different award for each type.
It can be helpful to understand when parents or other parties are awarded legal custody over a minor child in Suwanee. When it comes to the biological mother, this status is not “awarded” at all; they automatically hold these parental rights from the moment an infant is born.
Whether or not a father immediately has parental rights depends on the circumstances. There are some cases—including when the mother is married when they give birth—where a presumption is made regarding paternity. In other cases, court-ordered DNA testing may be necessary before these rights go into effect.
It is possible to lose these rights as well. If the court is presented with evidence that a parent is unfit, steps could be taken to remove the child from the home. However, the evidence of unfitness must be strong for the court to take these drastic steps.
Custody arrangements can be divided into two main types: primary and joint custody. The distinction between these two options is important. Our team of legal professionals can explain the practical impact these arrangements have for each parent.
This option means a single parent has all of the decision-making power over their child. This is not generally preferred by Georgia courts. Instead, family law presumes that it is generally best for co-parents to share responsibility for making life-changing choices for their child.
Judges prefer to jointly award the power to make choices regarding shared children whenever possible. Co-parents are expected to reach a conclusion together based on what is best for their offspring. Unfortunately, there are times when one parent might not be suitable for the task, such as when there is evidence of abuse or neglect. In these scenarios, full legal and physical custody may be awarded to the other parent.
For more guidance on obtaining primary or joint legal custody of a child, contact our Suwanee lawyers today.
If you are unsure of your rights related to legal child custody in Suwanee, experienced legal counsel can provide you with the answers you need. Before you face the family court system on your own, contact our firm to discuss your options.