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770-609-1247 | Georgia Child Custody Modification Attorneys

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Coleman Legal Group, LLC

Call 770-609-1247 now to speak with one of our experienced Georgia Child Custody Modification Attorneys.

If you need to modify an existing child custody court order – the divorce and family law attorneys at Coleman Legal Group, LLC can help.  We are experienced in all kinds of child custody modification arrangements.  Child custody provisions are set forth by a court order.  Therefore, to make a new child custody arrangement, the existing court order will need to be modified by a judge.

The best way to get the best custody arrangement possible is
to be an outstanding parent, do what a great parent does and
be prepared to show the court that you are a great parent.

Common Reasons for a Child Custody Modification

One Parent Decides to Move Out of State, to a New City or to a New School District.

Any plans by a parent to move or relocate to another state, city or school district may warrant a child custody modification.  If your child’s other parent is planning on moving with your child – the family law attorneys at Coleman Legal Group, LLC can help make sure your custody and visitation rights are respected.  For example, your child’s other parent will likely be in contempt of the existing custody order if they decide to unilaterally move far away enough that it inhibits your existing visitation arrangements.  In addition, if the move will change your child’s school district – this may also be in violation of your existing child custody order.  Both of these circumstances give rise to a good reason for you to seek to modify the existing child custody order so that your rights are affected at little as possible by the other parent’s plans to move.  Our attorneys can meet with you confidentially, evaluate your situation and explain all of your options under Georgia law.  If the other parent has already moved and taken your children with them, you should speak with one of our experienced family law attorney as soon as possible.  Georgia law generally favors the spouse that did not move the children.  However, if you choose to not take legal action in a timely manner, it will raise unnecessary questions as to why you took so long to react.  Questions like this when raised will not be in your best interest.

One of the Parents is Not Exercising their Court Awarded Parenting Time.

A parent that habitually does not exercise their parenting time runs the risk that this will become a reason for the other parent to ask the court to modify custody, parenting time and the visitation schedule.  In addition, this is also a reason for the other parent to ask for more in child support along with the change in custody.

The Fitness of a Parent has Changed.

If one of the party’s ability to parent has changed significantly – for the better or worse – this can be sufficient grounds to have a child custody order modified.  For example, if the other parent is no longer fit to have primary physical custody of your children – you should immediately seek to have the existing custody order modified.  If the situation has deteriorated to the point that the other parent should not even have any extended time with your child, our family law attorneys can arrange for an emergency court hearing and ask for an immediate change in custody.  If your situation requires it, we can even ask the court to order supervised visitation of your children and for a Guardian Ad Litem (see below for more information about the role of a Guardian Ad Litem) to be appointed.

The most common reasons the court may find a parent unfit include:

  • a parent has developed mental health issues that affect their ability to parent
  • a parent has developed physical health issues that affect their ability to parent
  • a parent has developed an alcohol, drug and/or substance abuse problem, which may be presumed to significantly affect their ability to parent
  • a parent has become abusive to your child or children
  • a parent is putting the children in the presence of unsafe conditions
  • a parent has simply become neglectful or is exhibiting poor parenting skills

Under Georgia child custody law, the court may modify an existing child custody order by reducing custody time and/or ordering all visitations with the children to be supervised.  If the situation warrants it, the court may even eliminate an unfit parent’s custody and visitation completely.

In the alternative, if your ability to parent has improved significantly for a multitude of possible reasons, you can petition the court for a child custody modification giving you more time with your children.

Guardian Ad Litem

As a part of a child custody modification action, the judge may appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to represent the child and their best interests.  The responsibility of a Guardian Ad Litem is to provide the judge with report documenting information that the judge can use to make the best final decision regarding a requested for a child custody modification.  The Guardian Ad Litem is a neutral third (3rd) party who has the right to:

  • visit the child at school
  • visit and examine the child’s home
  • interview and speak with the child’s teachers
  • interview and speak with the child’s psychologists and therapists and review their reports
  • interview and speak with the child’s physicians and review the medical records
  • interview and speak with the child’s parents and other relatives

After the Guardian Ad Litem completes their investigation of the child’s situation, they will make a documented report and submit it to the judge with their findings regarding what custody arrangement is in the child’s best interest.  The judge will use this report and the evidence submitted by both parents to make their final decision regarding the child’s custody.

Situations Affecting the Best Interest of the Child.

A parent can petition for a custody modification if they believe it is in the best interest of the child for the custody to be modified.  Situations that give rise to a good “Best Interests of the Child” petition for a custody modification include:

  • one or both of the parents’ work schedule or working hours have changed significantly and it is affecting the child’s welfare
  • one or both of the parents’ travel demands for visitation have increased or decreased significantly
  • a child has developed problems in school attendance and/or school performance
  • a child is being poorly supervised, which can result in the child getting in legal trouble or having problems in school
  • a child has developed emotional or behavioral problems
  • the relationship between one or both of the parents has changed significantly for any reason
  • the other parent has a new romantic partner or spouse that is significantly negatively affecting the child’s life

A Child Custody Elections

Another situation that can give rise to a modification of child custody is what a child prefers for their self.  Under Georgia law, if a child is between the ages of eleven (11) and fourteen (14) years of age – the child may have the right to speak directly to the court about their custody wishes.  Specifically, the child may choose to speak with a judge and state their choice of the parent with whom they wish to primarily reside with.  The judge may consider the child’s choice, but is under no legal obligation to follow it.  If the child is fourteen (14) years old or more, the child has a more persuasive right to make a custody election regarding which parent they prefer to primarily reside with.  The judge will give this custody election serious consideration in deciding the case.  However, a judge can still override the child’s custody election if it clearly is not in the best interest of the child

Use of a Parenting Coordinator

A Parenting Coordinator is an individual who works directly with the parents to focus on what is in the best interest of the children.  The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts defines a Parent Coordination as a “child focused alternative dispute resolution process, in which a mental health or legal professional with mediation training and experience assists high conflict parents to implement their parenting plan by:

  • facilitating the resolution of their disputes in a timely manner;
  • educating parents about children’s needs, and;
  • with prior approval of the parties and/or the Court, making decisions within the scope of the Court Order or appointment contract.

Usually, a Parenting Coordinator has authority to make minor and temporary changes to the visitation and custody schedule in a case.  the court’s objection in using a Parenting Coordinator is to help parents that are in significant conflict to implement an effective parenting plan.  A Parenting Coordinator can also monitor the parties’ compliance with the parenting plan and assist in resolving disputes between the parents in a timely manner.

If you are thinking about a child custody modification or just need effective quality family law or divorce advice – call us at 770-609-1247. You will be able to speak directly with an attorney and schedule a consultation if needed.

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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, LLC • 5755 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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