When it comes to determining child custody in Georgia, the legal system follows specific guidelines. These laws prioritize the best interests of the child.
Parents navigating child custody should understand the factors that come into play.
Types of custody
Georgia recognizes two main types of custody – legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. That includes choices about education, healthcare and religious matters.
Physical custody pertains to where the child resides. Courts may award joint legal custody, joint physical custody or sole custody depending on the circumstances. In Georgia, nearly 6% of children live only with a single mother, more than in any other state except Mississippi.
Best interests of the child factors
The court strives to provide the child with an arrangement that suits their best interests. Considerations include the child’s emotional ties with each parent, their ability to provide a stable home and the child’s adjustment to their community.
The court assesses the fitness of each parent when determining custody. Relevant factors may include the parent’s physical and mental health, history of substance abuse and ability to meet the child’s emotional and physical needs. Courts aim to ensure that the custodial parent is capable of providing a safe and supportive environment for the child.
The judge also considers each parent’s willingness to foster a positive relationship between the child and the other parent. Ongoing contact and communication with both parents is an essential component of the child’s well-being.
Maintaining sibling relationships is another critical factor. Whenever possible, the goal is to keep siblings together, recognizing the value of these connections.
By considering these factors, the legal system aims to establish custody arrangements that contribute to the child’s healthy upbringing.