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Child custody basics in Georgia

If you are the parent of a minor child in Georgia and you and your spouse are getting a divorce, you will no doubt have questions and concerns about custody of your child. It will be important for you to understand how the state approaches these decisions.

According to the State of Georgia, you and your child's other parent will need to attend a custody hearing. After this hearing, a judge will make a final custody award that is only able to be changed in the evnet of major changes in your circumstances or your former partner's circumstances. Moving to a new house a few miles away is not likely to be considered a material change. The wishes of children at least 14 years of age may be considered by a judge in a custody determination. Your over-14 child may also ask for the parenting plan to be reviewed every other year.

Before your hearing date, you should develop your proposed parenting plan for the judge. This should include details about transitions from one parent to the other. For example, where will you pick up or drop off your child? What date and time will transitions take place? Details about which parent a child will spend vacations and holidays with should be part of a parenting plan.

Joint custody allows both parents to have physical and legal rights. If one person is awarded sole custody, the other parent may still have visitation time.  If you would like to learn more about how judges may identify or assign custody of children during a divorce, please visit the parenting page of our Georgia family law website.

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