Even though the bill has failed twice, House Bill 96, which proposes a presumption of equal legal and physical custody for both parents in a divorce, could still affect child custody cases in the state. Advocates for equal parenting rights are re-drafting the bill in an attempt to get it to pass.
Opponents say the bill places the desires of parents above the interests of children.
What the bill advocates for
The bill advocates for equal physical custody to be the default in Georgia divorce cases. Under this arrangement, both parents share equal parenting time with their children. A typical 50/50 custody arrangement involves a child living with one parent one week and the other parent the next.
Pros and cons of equal physical custody
Equal custody arrangements allow children to build strong relationships with both parents. They also allow parents to equally share the responsibilities of parenting, rather than the majority of responsibilities landing on the parent who has physical custody of the child.
Split custody arrangements can also minimize the impact of divorce on children. However, some children have difficulty adjusting to frequently moving between two households. These children may suffer from a feeling of instability. Because children are spending an equal amount of time with each parent, they may feel they do not get enough quality time with either parent.
Opponents of the bill argue that while an equal custody arrangement can work for some families, it does not work for all. Making this arrangement the default could be burdensome for families who have difficulty overcoming the obstacles.