What factors are used to make child custody decisions?

Georgia parents must make many decisions for their children. From smaller decisions like what foods to eat and what TV shows to watch, to larger decisions like what schools to attend, what religion to be raised in and what medical treatment to receive, there are many topics that parents must weigh in on and decide.

While parents are married or otherwise together, they may work together to make all of these decisions or one parent may take the lead on certain decisions and the other parent on other decisions. The discussions on these decisions can also usually take place at the home when they are together. However, if the parents divorce, making these decisions together may become much more difficult, depending on the circumstances of the separation and divorce.

Therefore, in a divorce, the couple must agree as to who will have child custody or a judge will ultimately make the decision for them. When judges make the decisions, they will analyze a number of factors to make the determination.

Child custody decision factors

The factors that judges use include, but are not limited to:

  • The child’s relationship with both parents
  • The child’s relationship with their siblings or stepsiblings living in each parent’s home
  • Each parent’s ability to provide care for the child and their ability to meet their needs
  • Which parent can better provide stability in the child’s life
  • Each parent’s involvement in the child’s schooling and activities
  • Each parent’s work schedule
  • Whether there are physical abuse or substance abuse issues
  • Each parent’s willingness to promote a relationship with the other parent

There are other factors as well and ultimately, the court will attempt to determine what is in the child’s best interest.

Child custody determinations in Georgia are very fact-specific decisions that depend on the unique circumstances of each family. These can also be very complicated decisions and consulting with experienced attorneys may be beneficial.

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