Divorce for Families With Minor Children in Suwanee

The end of a marriage is hard for most people. When there are minor children involved, the process becomes even more stressful.

Divorce for families with minor children in Suwanee requires the parents to devote substantial time and attention to how they will co-parent their children. Work with a legal team that understands how Georgia family courts resolve matters concerning children. Call the Atlanta Divorce Law Group to begin working with one of our trusted divorce attorneys.

Judge’s Decisions Are Based on the Children’s Best Interests

When you have school-age children, it impacts every aspect of your divorce. Obviously there must be a decision about custody, how much time each parent will have with the children, and child support. The presence of minor children can also affect decisions regarding property division and alimony.

When a decision impacts children, the judge must make a ruling in accordance with their best interests. The parents’ needs and wishes are secondary. According to the Official Code of Georgia § 19-9-3, there are 17 factors a Suwanee judge may evaluate to determine the children’s best interests, including:

  • The relationship of each parent with each child;
  • The child’s physical, emotional, social, and educational needs;
  • Parent’s experience and familiarity with being the children’s primary caregiver;
  • Stability of each parent’s home;
  • Ability of each parent to provide shelter, clothing, food, and other necessities of life;
  • Each parent’s willingness and ability to support the children’s relationships with the other parent;
  • Any history of family violence, child neglect or abuse, untreated mental health issues, or substance abuse.

When parents dispute custody, family courts often appoint a guardian ad litem or custody evaluator, and judges tend to give weight to their opinions.

When the court has decided which custody arrangement is best for the children, they make property division and alimony decisions with custody in mind. The parent with primary physical custody is often more likely to retain the family home because the courts want the children to have stability. Additionally, a stay-at-home parent might receive alimony so they do not have to work until their youngest is in school full-time or longer in some cases.

Negotiated Parenting Plans Usually Work Best

You and your spouse must submit a parenting plan describing how you will co-parent your children. Georgia family law does not favor one parent over the other in custody matters. Instead, the judge must award primary custody to the parent who is best able to support the children’s well-being using the best interests standard.

The parenting plan must include where the children will live, when they will be with the non-custodial parent, how time with the children will be divided on holidays, and transportation arrangements. Parenting plans are usually most workable and appropriate when the parents create them.

Many parents cooperate to negotiate their parenting plan. Sometimes, working with a mediator is helpful, or your Suwanee attorneys could negotiate directly with each other on your behalf. When you and your co-parent cannot provide a plan that supports the children’s best interests, the Georgia family court judge will impose one.

Seeking Sole Custody

The law presumes spending substantial time with each of their parents is in a child’s best interests. When a court grants full physical custody to one parent, the judge usually provides the other parent a say in important decisions concerning the children and substantial visitation time.

Sometimes, one parent does not want the other to have contact with the children or be involved in their lives at all. The other parent may be violent, abusive, or have mental health challenges that make them unsafe around the children. Unfortunately, bitterness or anger sometimes causes a parent to pursue sole custody.

Speak candidly with a Suwanee attorney before seeking sole custody and limited visitation. When there is proof the other parent poses a danger or is unfit, courts will consider the evidence and choose a result that protects the children’s welfare. However, when there is scant evidence that the other parent is unfit, depriving them of a relationship with the children could backfire. A court might feel you are using the children to settle a personal issue with your co-parent and might hold it against you when making custody decisions.

Work With a Skillful Attorney When Divorcing With Young Children

Divorcing when your children are school-aged is hard on everyone. Sound legal advice can ensure the process goes as smoothly as circumstances permit.

Our skilled lawyers and support staff provide supportive representation in cases involving divorce for families with minor children in Suwanee. Set up a complimentary consultation with a team member today.

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