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Child custody in Georgia: some central considerations

At first blush, some aspects of Georgia's child custody laws might seem a bit complex to a reader trying to grapple with central terms and concepts set out in the state's relevant statutory enactments.

That is immediately understandable, given the specialized vernacular associated with many family law considerations.

Take child custodial rights, for example, where Georgia law -- along with that of many other states -- makes reference to various forms of custody. A lay person seeking an immediate and comprehensive understanding of Georgia law on custody might be a bit stymied by references to physical custody, legal custody, sole custody and joint custody.

How do those concept differ, and how do they interact, if at all?

An online overview of Georgia child custody laws provides some clarity regarding those terms. It notes this:

  • Physical custody -- refers to the parent/guardian who resides with the child
  • Legal custody -- centers on the care giver having authority to make important decisions concerning the child (think school, medical, religion and other material matters)
  • Sole custody -- depicting situation where one parent/care giver has physical or legal custody, or both
  • Joint custody -- contrasting to sole custody, where both parents/care givers share physical and/or decision-making responsibilities regarding the child's welfare

Courts today are generally quite flexible concerning custody-related matters, although they will not hesitate to weigh in with their discretionary powers when conflict or hard choices surface.

Custody generally entails myriad considerations, including visitation rights, parenting plans, support concerns and additional matters. An experienced Georgia family law attorney can provide focused and knowledgeable assistance in all these areas.

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