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Child Custody in Georgia: What is the law?

Macon GA Custody Lawyer

Child custody is the most challenged aspect of any divorce involving children. Every state in the United State has separate child custody laws. The State of Georgia recognizes certain laws that govern child custody rights.


Custody of children can be of four types, joint custody, joint legal custody, joint physical custody and sole custody. Joint custody includes both joint legal as well joint physical custody and a ruling of joint custody can mean either one or both together. Joint legal custody gives both parents equal rights in making important decisions concerning the child like education, health care, religion etc but for certain decisions one of them might be given sole power.


Joint physical custody ensures that the child gets to share equal time with both parents as well as be in contact with both of them. Sometimes sole custody of the child is awarded to one of the parents. This person retains rights to make major decisions on behalf of the child. The other person or the non custodial parent has only visitation rights.


When the custody of child is being contested, there is no presumption favoring either of the parents. The decision is entirely taken by the judge after hearing the issue of custody and taken in the best interests of the child concerned. Certain relevant factors are taken into consideration like the emotional ties, bonding, affection between parent and child, between siblings and step siblings if they exist, temperament of parent towards child, awareness of child’s needs, capacity of parent to provide a quality life to the child, home environment, etc.


Children above 14 years of age have the right to select the parent they want to live with but have to be found suitable and capable by the presiding judge. Children between 11 and 14 can express their desires but the court’s discretion with regard to educational and other needs of the child is controlling. Many a time a temporary trial period is granted to a selected parent for children above 11 years if deemed appropriate by judge.


Child custody cases have to adhere to jurisdiction laws of Georgia State for the case to be heard and decided in Georgia. Child custody determination can be done in Georgia only if the home state of the child is or was Georgia at the commencement of proceeding or 6 months prior to it respectively. A parent must be resident here at the time of proceedings. The State of Georgia can try the case if court in home state of child declines to try it or the child or parents are connected significantly (other than physical presence) with Georgia.


All child custody disputes in Georgia have to be resolved with legal counsel from Georgia divorce lawyers.


If you are facing a child custody dispute, then contact an experienced family law attorney in Macon GA today.