Your children mean everything to you — which is why you want to stay active in their lives and retain some control over their future no matter what. Now that you’re getting divorced, custody issues are some of your biggest concerns.
Understanding more about how custody works in Georgia can help you navigate this difficult time a little more easily. Here are the three most important things to know:
- Custody decisions are made according to the child’s best interests.
Ideally, both parents will eventually agree on what that might mean for their children. When they don’t, however, a judge will look hard at the situation and make a ruling that puts the children first. That means that the law — not your spouse — controls what happens with custody. Your soon-to-be ex cannot dictate the terms of custody to suit any notions of revenge they may have against you for your failed marriage.
- There are two different types of custody: Physical and legal.
Physical custody involves where the child lives. Legal custody deals with which parent has the right to make important decisions on the child’s behalf, such as where they go to school, what their religious upbringing is like and what medical care they receive. Both types of custody can be granted solely to one parent or jointly to both.
- Children over 14 years of age may have some say in custody decisions.
The court will usually allow teenagers who are 14-years-old or older to have a say in their custody arrangements — but only to the extent that their wishes align with their best interests. If a teen lacks maturity or is being manipulated to pick one parent over the other, the court can step in.
If your divorce has you on edge over custody, speaking with an experienced advocate can help. Getting a plan of action into motion as early as possible is the best way to approach your custody case.