One of the most difficult decisions between parents is often who obtains custody of a child. There are two main types of custody arrangements in Georgia.
Types of Child Custody
The two types are:
Legal Custody: is the set of rights and responsibilities regarding the child's upbringing.
Physical Custody : set of parental responsibilities regarding daily care in addition to the rights to direct the child's daily activities.
The court, in its discretion, may award sole custody, joint custody or primary custody.
Sole legal custody of a child means that one person can make all the decisions without consulting the other party. Sole physical custody means that one party has exclusive physical custody rights on the child. In comparison, joint legal custody means that both parents have equal rights and responsibilities for the major decisions concerning the child. Joint physical custody means that physical custody is shared parents in such a way to assure the child substantially equal time and contact with both parents.
Most importantly, the court looks at the best interest of the child when determining custody. Upon the consent of the court, a child 14 years or older can choose which parent will have custody. Child custody cannot be given to someone who is not a biological parent unless the court determines that it would be in the child's best interest to live with another relative. A finding that the biological parent is found unfit is no longer necessary except if the petitioning party is not a relative.
Child Custody Considerations
There are various child custody considerations. For instance, child custody hearings evaluate several factors such as:
- The mental, physical, and overall health of each parent;
- The emotional ties that exist between each parent and the child;
- The psychological, emotional and developmental needs of the child;
- The ability of the parents to communicate with each other;
- Prior and continuing care each parent has given the child;
- The wishes of the child (accounting for the child's age and maturity);
- The safety of the child;
- The ability of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing and medical care
- The geographic proximity of the parents;
- Any custodial agreements of the parents; and
- Any evidence of family violence, child abuse, substance abuse or criminal history of either parent
- The ability of each parent to meet the educational needs of the child; and
- Each parent's involvement in the child's educational, extracurricular and social activities.
In conclusion, contact our law office if you are in need of establishing child custody rights. We primarily offer our legal services throughout the Metro-Atlanta area including Jonesboro, McDonough, Stockbridge, South Atlanta, Fayetteville, and other communities in Clayton County, Henry County, Douglas County, Fulton County, Fayette County and Spalding County. To schedule a consultation with Attorney Tiffany R. Lunn, Contact Us online or call Lunn Law LLC at 770.492.2974.