As children grow older and as family circumstances change, you may have a reason to ask the court to modify the child custody order in the divorce decree. No change should be made without the approval of the court.
In Georgia, the child's best interests are at the focus of every child custody determination. If you are trying to obtain a child custody or visitation agreement, inside or outside of a divorce, the family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Abbott & Abbott P.C., are here to help.
You can count on us to listen to your concerns and fight for the best interests of your children. Our child custody attorneys in Marietta and Canton, Georgia, understand that it is in your child's best interest to spend time with you.
Custody, Visitation and Parenting Time
There are two types of legal custody in Georgia – sole custody and joint custody:
- Sole custody means one parent is responsible for all of the major decisions in a child's life and the child lives with that parent.
- In joint custody, parents will share legal custody of a child or children. Also, the parent the child lives with will make day-to-day decisions.
Parents sometimes worry more about the terminology used rather than the impact a custody decision can have on the children's lives. We will help you understand the real impact of custody determinations on you and your child's life. With clear information, you will be able to make informed decisions about your future and sculpt an enforceable parenting plan that best meets the needs of your family.
Helping Clients Regarding Child Modification Family Law Matters
One of the most common questions parents come to us with regarding child custody modifications, is how long will it take? This largely depends on whether the change is contested or not. If uncontested, the modification can be filed with the court faster. However, if contested, there is need for additional negotiation, mediation and possibly litigation.
No matter what type of situation your case ends up in, rest assured we are highly experienced in handling any of them.
Common reasons for a child custody modification include:
- The custodial parent requesting to relocate out-of-state
- The noncustodial parent requesting to relocate out-of-state
- Change in job, termination, layoff
- Illness, accident or injury (either the child or the parent)
- The child (at least 14 years of age) elects to change primary custody
- Substance abuse issues such as drugs or alcohol
- Domestic violence (requires immediate attention)
The Effect of Custody on Child Support
A child custody agreement will have an effect on child support determinations. While both parents are responsible for the support of their child or children, where the child lives can impact the amount of support each parent is required to provide.
Joint Custody In Georgia
Child custody arrangements come in many forms, depending on parents' schedules and other factors — most importantly the best interest of the child. One of the most common forms of child custody is joint custody. This form of custody involves both parents being involved in raising the child. The degree to which each parent is involved can vary significantly from case to case, but rarely does one parent have sole custody.
Our lawyers understand the importance of protecting your relationship with your child. Our aggressive approach makes us suitably situated to do whatever it takes to get results that make sense for you, including fighting for you in court.
- Joint physical custody: When people think of child custody, they often think of physical custody. This is the aspect of custody that addresses who spends time with the child and how much time will be spent.
- Joint physical custody normally means that there would be a 50/50 custodial split. Perhaps the child would spend one week with one parent and the next week with the other. Some courts feel these arrangements are unstable and will not award them; others will. Of course, these arrangements can always be agreed to by the parents without court intervention.
- Joint legal custody: Legal custody is the aspect of custody that addresses decision-making related to religion, medical care, education and extracurricular activities. In joint legal custody situations, both parents have a say in making decisions but one will have tie-breaking authority. This authority may be split among the different areas of decision-making.
- For example, one parent may have the authority in religion and education, while the other has the authority in medical care and extracurricular activities. We will help you determine the best custody arrangements for you and your child.
Representing Clients in Child Custody Contempt Actions
The Georgia courts maintain that a child's best interests are served when he or she maintains a meaningful relationship with both parents. The courts prefer custody agreements that allow the child to spend substantial time with both parents unless it is shown that contact with one or the other parent could put the child in harm's way.
Once your child custody order is in place, both parents are required to comply with its terms. If either one fails to do so, it could create grounds for contempt. Child custody matters can become very challenging legal matters, and it is important to have an attorney who knows the law and will work to ensure that the court's orders are obeyed.
Contact us today for an appointment to discuss your child custody concerns. Call us in Marietta (678-905-8781) or Canton (678-792-4908) for a free 30-minute consultation. We accept all major credit cards.