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770-609-1247 | Georgia Child Custody Attorneys

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Coleman Legal Group, LLC

Phone: 770-609-1247

Georgia, like all other states, has its own body of law that the courts follow when awarding child custody. The courts in Georgia primary concern in deciding child custody is “what is in the best interests of the child”. Almost every fact and argument made in court must be focused on what is the best interest of the child. See O.C.G.A. 19-9-3.

Under Georgia law, both parents are equal when it comes to child custody arrangements. The court may award joint custody or sole custody. When it comes to child custody laws, Georgia awards two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. See O.C.G.A. 19-9-6.

Legal custody is the right to make major decisions regarding the child.

With joint legal custody, both parents have equal rights and responsibilities to make major decisions concerning the child. However, if is our belief that one parent should have final decision-making rights (tie breaker) for each of the four major legal custody areas:

Medical

Educational

Extracurricular

Religious Decisions

The parents can split these final decision-making rights. For example, the Father may have the tie breaker for medical and extracurricular and the Mother may have tie breaker for educational and religious decisions.

Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with.

With joint physical custody, both parents share substantially equal time and contact with the child. In awarding joint custody, the court may order joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or both. A common misconception regarding Georgia child custody law is that there is a provision in the law for “primary physical custody”. However, in a practical sense, the parent that has more than fifty percent (50%) parenting time with the child is common said to have primary physical custody of the child(ren).  Primary physical custody is very important when determining which parent will pay child support to the other parent.

In Georgia, children who are fourteen (14) years or older often make a custody election about which parent they would prefer to live with. However, it is important to understand, the court can overrule the child’s custody election if the Judge decides that living with the child’s preferred parent is not in the child’s best interests. O.C.G.A. 19-9-3(a)(5).

Georgia law also provides for custody elections for children eleven (11) to fourteen (14) years of age. However, the court can choose to ignore the child’s election and go straight to the Judge’s decision on what is in the best interest of the children. See O.C.G.A. 19-9-3(a)(6).

Parenting Plans: According to the child custody laws in Georgia, a parenting plan is required for any custody agreement. See O.C.G.A. 19-9-1. The parenting plan should include provisions that respect and acknowledge that:

a close and continuing parent-child relationship and continuity in the child’s life is in the child’s best interest;

a child’s needs change and grow as the child matures, and that the parents will consider this in order to minimize future modifications;

the parent with physical custody will make day-to-day decisions and emergency decisions while the child is residing with that parent;

both parents will have access to all of the child’s records and information, including matters concerning education, health, extracurricular, and religious instruction.

Parenting Plans: Unless parents agree or the judge decides otherwise, a parenting plan will also usually outline:

where the child will spend each day of the year. A good parenting plan will contemplate times when a parent may have to be out of town for business and for emergencies.

how holidays, birthdays, vacations, school breaks, and other special occasions will be spent. Most parenting plans alternate major holidays and the children’s birthdays. Assuming that the parents live close enough to each other, the children should spend Mother’s day with the mother and Father’s day with the father.

transportation arrangements, including how and where the child will be exchanged and how transportation costs will be paid. Travel time, stress on the child(ren) and traffic considerations should be contemplated when making transportation decisions.

if supervision of the parent’s visitation is needed, and if so, the details of the supervision.

how the parents will allocate decision-making authority with regard to the child’s education, health, extracurricular activities, and religious upbringing. If the parties agree the matters should be jointly decided, the parenting plan will outline how to resolve a situation in which the parents disagree. It is wise for one parent to have tie-breaking authority if needed.

what, if any, limitations exist while one parent has physical custody in terms of the other parents contacting the child and the other parent’s right to have access to information regarding the child. However, the parenting plan should provide for ample time and ways for the parents to communication with their children. A good parenting plan will contemplate the use of Skype (and similar services), email, telephone (land lines and cell phones), and communication through internet social media.

If you are facing a divorce, custody battle or just need some great family law / divorce advice – call us at Coleman Legal Group, LLC. You will be able to speak directly with an attorney and schedule a consultation if needed.

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Main Office, Alpharetta, Georgia:  5755 North Point Parkway, Suite 52, Alpharetta, GA 30022

Coleman Legal Group, LLC handles cases in the following cities and communities: Atlanta, Alpharetta, Roswell, Johns Creek, Milton, Cumming, Marietta, Sandy Springs, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Gainesville, Norcross, Lawrenceville, Midtown, Inman Park, Duluth, Buckhead, Dunwoody, Vinings and Smyrna.

Our Georgia attorneys frequently handle cases for clients residing in the following counties: Fulton, Gwinnett, Forsyth, Cobb, DeKalb, Henry, Cherokee, Douglas, Carroll, Coweta, Paulding, Bartow, Hall, Barrow, Walton, Newton, Rockdale, Henry, Spalding, Fayette and Clayton.

Coleman Legal Group, LLC’s Georgia lawyers practice in the areas of Divorce, Family Law, Estates, Wills, Trusts, Probate, Bankruptcy, Business Law and Immigration. We have offices conveniently located at:

Alpharetta Georgia
North Point Park
5755 North Point Parkway
Suite 52
Alpharetta, GA 30022
Phone: 770-408-0477 | Map

Atlanta Georgia
Colony Square
1201 Peachtree Street, 400
Colony Square, Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30361
Phone: 770-408-0477 | Map

Dunwoody
Sandy Springs

1200 Abernathy Road
Building 600
Northpark Town Center
Atlanta, GA 30328
Phone: 770-408-0477 | Map

Cumming Georgia
The Avenue Forsyth

410 Peachtree Parkway
Building 400, Suite 4245
Cumming, GA 30041
Phone: 770-408-0477 | Map

Johns Creek
Duluth Georgia

11555 Medlock Bridge Rd
Suite 100
Johns Creek, GA 30097
Phone: 770-609-1247 | Map

Duluth Georgia
Sugarloaf

2180 Satellite Boulevard
Suite 400
Duluth, GA 30097
Phone: 770-609-1247 | Map

Kennesaw Georgia
TownPark Center
125 TownPark Drive
Suite 300
Kennesaw, GA 30144
Phone: 770-609-1247 | Map

Lawrenceville
Huntcrest
1755 North Brown Road
Suite 200
Lawrenceville, GA 30043
Phone: 770-609-1247 | Map

Copyright © 2017 | Coleman Legal Group, LLC | All Rights Reserved. Coleman Legal Group, LLC5755 North Point Parkway, Suite 52 • Alpharetta, GA 30022 770-609-1247 DISCLAIMER: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

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