In the Best Interests of Your Children
Who gets custody of your children?
If you and your spouse don’t come to an agreement regarding custody of your minor children – The judge will decide for you.
Who decides custody of your children?
You and your spouse can agree to a custody arrangement for your minor children. This is the preferred path to take. When spouses agree on custody, it significantly reduces stress to you, your spouse and your children. But if you can’t agree – the judge will decide for you. Learn more about the Georgia Divorce legal process.
The judge can decide custody at any temporary or final hearing and usually awards you and/or your spouse one, or a combination of, the following types of custody – whatever the judge thinks is best: Sole Custody. Joint Custody, Joint Legal Custody, or Joint Physical Custody.
What is – Sole Custody?
The spouse that is awarded sole custody has the sole and exclusive control to make all major decisions related to your child, including decisions affecting the child’s education, health, activities, and religious training.
The spouse awarded sole custody is also the primary physical custodian of the child, and the parent not awarded sole custody most often has the right to visit with the child.
What is – Joint Custody?
Joint custody is the most common type of child custody. It also requires the spouses working most closely and cooperatively – together.
The term “joint custody” includes joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or both joint legal and joint physical custody.
What is – Joint Legal Custody?
Joint legal custody relates to how decisions are made about the child. In a joint legal custody arrangement, both parents have rights to communicate with the child, receive information regarding the child (such as medical records), and provide input on major decisions affecting the child.
What is – Joint Physical Custody?
Joint physical custody, sometimes called shared physical custody, means that your child spends substantial time living with both parents. Under this arrangement, each parent has the responsibility to physically care for your child.
A Parenting Plan describing this arrangement is prepared and approved by the judge. It becomes the “official” rule book used to determine who does what – when – how relating to each spouse’s separate time with the children. Learn how divorce mediation can help you to create an effective parenting plan.
What is – The Best Interests of the Child Test?
If you and your spouse don’t come to an agreement regarding custody of your minor children – The judge will decide for you. The judge determines custody of your minor children based upon their opinion of “the best interests of the child.”
The judge examines all the circumstances of your case – usually listens to evidence, reviews pleadings, and considers anything else they think is relevant to decide what’s in the best interests of the child. Including the following:
The love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child
Your child related agreements can only become effective after this test is passed and approved by the court. The Judge determines whether a child custody plan negotiated between you and your spouse passes the Best Interests of the Child Test.