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Factors judges consider when determining custody

Couples in the South are more likely to divorce than married couples elsewhere in the country. A report by CNN stated that part of this could be due to the fact couples in the South, which includes states like Georgia, Kentucky and Alabama, are more likely to marry at a younger age, which increases a couple's risk of divorce.

Arguably the most important determining factor in a divorce is child custody. In the event a couple cannot determine child custody on their own amicably, then a judge will intervene. In most cases, there are common factors judges use to determine who the child will live with. 

Well-being of the child

At the end of the day, everyone simply wants what is best for the child. Therefore, a judge will determine how capable each parent is at raising the child independently. This includes the bond and affection each parent seems to have with the child. If there are several children involved, then a judge will need to consider what is best for all of them as a group, which usually involves keeping all the kids together. A judge will also work to keep a child's life relatively the same. That may involve giving more time to the parent who is closest to the child's school so relocation does not need to take place. 

Adults' parenting plans

Georgia courts require both parties in a divorce to submit a parenting plan. These will likely not be the same, but each parent should submit a plan of what she or he would like in terms of custody. The judge will take these plans into consideration to figure out what a child's needs are. The parties can also submit these plans during a live hearing where both parents explain their plans. In some cases, if the child is old enough, he or she can offer an opinion as to whom should be the primary guardian. 

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