If divorcing parents have minor children between them, child custody becomes a critical factor to work through. While child custody might not be as complicated as the equitable division of marital property in a complex financial situation, it can be a more emotionally difficult issue to resolve, and it can be hotly contested when the parents don’t agree. Kresky Law helps parents work through child custody arrangements and parenting plans as best they can and provides strong, effective advocacy in courtroom disputes over contested custody matters. Our dedicated family law firm provides excellent advice and representation in divorce and child custody disputes throughout Atlanta.
Two Types of Child Custody – Physical and Legal Custody
Child custody has two separate aspects: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the actual custodial care of the children – where they live, what they eat, what time they go to bed, hygiene, etc. Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to the responsibility for making decisions regarding a child’s upbringing in matters such as healthcare, education, religion, and extracurricular activities.
Child custody in Georgia springs from two basic concepts:
- It is in the best interest of the children to have an ongoing relationship with each parent
- Children’s needs change as they grow
Joint custody, where the parents share both physical and legal custody, is the presumed or default option in most divorce cases. However, courts can also order sole custody. In this instance, the noncustodial parent is usually provided with visitation rights but does not share in legal custody. However, even visitation can be denied if it’s in the best interest of the children to deny it.
Courts look at many factors to decide whether sole or joint custody is most appropriate in a given situation. These factors can include each parent’s job and how much time they have available to devote to parenting, the quality of the home environment, the children’s bonds to each parent and siblings, and each parent’s history and ability when it comes to parenting. The children, too, have a say in the matter under Georgia law, depending on their age and maturity level. Minors can ask for a change in custody when they turn 14 years old and every two years thereafter until they reach the age of majority.
Child Custody and Parenting Plans
Part of the child custody process in a Georgia divorce case includes providing the court with a parenting plan for review and approval. Kresky Law works with clients and their co-parents to come up with a practical, detailed parenting plan that will meet with court approval and provide a workable framework for the parents and their kids. At a minimum, a parenting plan should include the following:
- A parenting time schedule that outlines which parent the children live and when on a daily basis throughout the year
- A schedule for vacations and holidays
- A suggested plan for transportation and custodial exchanges
- Preferred or acceptable methods of contact between the children and their parent during the time they are in the custody of the other parent
Kresky Law helps clients stay on track and create a customized parenting plan that fits their family’s needs.
Contact Kresky Law With Your Child Custody Concerns
Every family is unique and deserves customized attention to craft a custody arrangement and parenting plan tailored to their needs. For help with child custody matters in your Georgia divorce, contact the Atlanta office of Kresky Law to discuss your needs, goals and vision for the future of your family.