Georgia law begins with the presumption that both parents possess equal ability to care for their children. Consequently, Georgia divorce courts do not favor one parent over the other unless they have good reason to do so.
FindLaw explains that Georgia adheres to the Uniform Child Custody Act. Per this act, you and your spouse can choose either sole or joint custody of your children after your divorce. If you cannot reach agreement, however, the judge will decide all custody issues.
Georgia recognizes the following four interconnected types of child custody:
- Legal custody refers to which parent makes major life decisions for the child, including decisions about his or her schooling and religious upbringing.
- Physical custody refers to which parent the child actually lives with.
- Sole custody means that only one parent has legal and/or physical custody.
- Joint custody means that both parents share legal and/or physical custody.
Keep in mind that Georgia law allows any child age 14 or older to choose the parent with whom (s)he wishes to live after a divorce. However, the judge can overrule the child’s decision if (s)he believes that it will not serve the child’s best interests.
You and your spouse will need to devise a parenting plan as well as resolve your custody issues. Your plan should seek to accomplish the following:
- Allow your child to maintain his or her present relationships with both parents
- Allow whichever of you has the child for custody or visitation purposes to make decisions on behalf of him or her, including emergency decisions
- Allow both of you to access your child’s school, medical and other records
- Determine with which of you your child will spend his or her birthday and other holidays
- Determine which of you will provide the transportation when your child visits and comes back from the other parent
Again, if you and your spouse cannot arrive at a mutually agreeable parenting plan, the judge will impose one on you.