If you are a father going through divorce in Georgia, you may be concerned about getting custody of your children. You may wonder if you have a chance to have joint custody with your ex or if you could have sole custody of your children.
Maybe you’re a child of divorce yourself and only saw your father every other weekend as a kid. Will this be the same arrangement you’ll have for custody of your children? What should you expect as you seek child custody in Georgia?
Child custody basics
First, you should know that Georgia courts favor parents sharing joint custody of their children. This means that you and your spouse would not only share joint physical custody (when your children physically are with you), but also legal custody. With joint legal custody, you and your ex make decisions together regarding:
- Where your child will go to school
- What medical care your child will receive
- What activities your child will participate in
- Who will care for your child when you or your spouse are at work
- What religion you’ll raise your child in
When the court reviews your child custody request, it will look at what’s in the best interests of the child. Those factors include the following:
- The relationship you have with your child and your child’s relationship with your ex
- Each parent’s ability to support the child physically and emotionally
- Each parent’s ability to provide a stable environment for the child
- Your child’s age
- How changing your child’s routine will impact your child
- How safe your child will be with you or your ex
Under Georgia law, a mother doesn’t get preferential treatment for custody just because she is the child’s mother. Both parents have the right to equal custody if that’s in the child’s best interests.
Seeking sole custody
Generally, Georgia courts don’t award sole physical and legal custody to one parent over another. Only in extreme circumstances where a child is in danger with one parent do courts award sole custody to the other parent. Even if a parent is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, they may receive supervised visitation rights with their child.
Negotiating child custody is one of the most difficult aspects of divorce. You will need a family law attorney’s help to reach a child custody agreement that works for you and is best for your child.