No matter which process of divorce you choose, an uncontested, mediation, collaboration, or litigated divorce, you will still have a relationship with your spouse as parents after your marital relationship has ended. The Remboldt Law Firm will help you keep focused on decisions that are in the best interests of your children and in the long term interest of your ongoing relationship with your spouse as your child’s parent.
In Georgia both physical custody and legal custody are awarded.
Child Custody – Physical Custody
Physical custody means the parent who has the right to have the child live with them. Generally one parent is awarded primary physical custody with the other parent having secondary physical custody. However, joint physical custody is an option if parents live relatively close together and the child spends a significant amount of time with both parents.
Child Custody – Legal Custody
Legal custody is generally the right of a parent to make decisions about schooling, religion, extra curricular activities and medical care. In Georgia, Joint Legal Custody is generally awarded, but the court may award sole legal custody of the children to one parent if the parents are not able to communicate or one parent is abusive.
When a court is required to make a custody determination, the sole question for the Court is what is in the best interest of the child. In an uncontested divorce, the divorcing parents can decide between themselves the matter of custody.
Can a child choose which parent has primary physical custody? The answer is it depends.
Child 14 can choose – A child that is 14 years of age or older has the right to select which parent that child desires to live with. In a contested divorce – the court has a wide latitude and discretion in determining whether such parent is a fit and proper person to have physical custody. If the parent is found unfit, the child’s right to choose is not controlling. (O.G.G.A. § 19-9-1(a), 19-9-3(a))
Child 11 but not 14 – If a child is 11 but not 14 years old, the court must consider the desires, if any, and educational needs of the child in determining custody between the parents, but the court will have complete discretion and the child’s desires will not be controlling; and the court will have broad discretion and the best interest of the child standard will be controlling. (O.C.G.A. §19-9-1(a)(3)(D).
For more information about child custody in Georgia – there are several blog posts related to child custody in the Child Custody topic in the BLOG archives.
If you are interested in learning more about child custody in Georgia, contact the Remboldt Law Firm at 404-348-4081 to arrange your free telephone consultation.
If you have agreed on a divorce and all the divorce terms, an Uncontested Divorce Attorney can assist you in getting your divorce completed. In the mean time, you may find the Georgia Child Support Worksheet helpful. Also, if you are considering an uncontested divorce, you may find the Uncontested Divorce Worksheet helpful in moving forward with an uncontested divorce.