In Georgia, divorcing parents may negotiate with each other to create a parenting plan. The parenting plan outlines who will have legal custody, who will have primary physical custody and how the parents will divide parenting time. When the divorcing couple files the plan with the court, the judge will evaluate the plan and likely approve it.
Not all parents, however, are able to negotiate a parenting plan between themselves or through mediation. In such cases, the child custody matter will move into litigation.
Parents will then find themselves in court, needing to show the judge why it is in the best interests of the children to have primary custody be with one or the other. In addition to seeking the advice of an experienced Georgia divorce and child custody attorney, each parent will want to display exemplary behavior in all aspects of his or her life.
The standard for where children should live, and who should make decisions about important facets of their lives, is the best interests of the children. Georgia approaches the issue presuming that it is in the best interests of children to spend time with both parents, but the law takes into account that this is not always proper.
Child Custody Issues in the News
Charlie Sheen's recent custody problems, which have been widely discussed in the news, can shed light on the types of behaviors parents should think twice about while they are facing custody battles.
- Associates: If a parent is dating a new person, what is the new person like? How does the new partner behave, and is the new partner in the ex-spouse's home often? If the parent is bringing poor influences into the child's life, this could affect the court's view of the home's appropriateness for the child.
- Interpersonal relations: If one of the former spouses has anger management issues or other problems relating to family members, the court may take this into consideration when making child custody decisions. Although Georgia law appreciates the value of a child's contact with both parents, the courts will seek to avoid putting a child in harm's way.
- Drugs and alcohol: If a parent has problems with drugs or alcohol, it is in the best interests of everyone that the parent get the help he or she needs. A drug or alcohol problem could seriously interfere with a parent's ability to care for a child.
Ultimately, parental behavior is relevant when it affects the best interests of the children. Parents who face a custody conflict or need help working out a parenting plan should contact a knowledgeable Georgia family law attorney.