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How does the court determine parenting time?

Every couple that divorces in Georgia and has children must develop a parenting plan. Within this document, the parents must acknowledge that it is in the best interest of the child to have a relationship with both of them. The parents will also acknowledge that the needs of the child may change as the child gets older. The plan stipulates that the parent with physical custody will make day-to-day decisions about the child.

A parenting plan will spell out when each parent will have custody of the child during weekends, holidays or school vacations. In addition to stipulating when the child will be in a certain parent's custody, it will also determine when visitation will begin and end. Details regarding how the child will be transferred between parents and where the child will stay will be determined by the terms of the parenting plan.

In some cases, both parents may agree to make joint decisions regarding their child's well-being. The parenting plan should have language determining how to solve any disputes that arise between the two parents. There may also be language that sets limits on when a parent may contact a child while the other parent is with the child. Another issue that may need to be considered is how much information about the child can be accessed by the other parent.

In a child custody case, the best interest of the child trumps the wishes of the parents. Therefore, even if the parents do not get along, they may need to work together to raise a child. A family law attorney can help a client negotiate the terms of such a plan.

Source: State Bar of Georgia , "Divoce", October 18, 2014

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