Child Custody – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Who will typically get custody?

In most cases, both types of custody (legal and physical) are shared by the parents. The court determines custody by deciding what type of arrangement is in the best interest of the child.

What is joint custody?

This is when parents share decision making authority over the child. Typically, there are four areas in which the decisions are to be made jointly: religious upbringing, education, medical care and extracurricular activities.

If both parents share custody does anyone pay child support?

Child support is calculated based upon income, so the parent with the higher income will most likely need to pay child support regardless of the custody situation. However, in an uncontested divorce, usually the parties can settle / agree on a child support amount, and if its reasonable the court will likely approve it.

Can a parent refuse to allow visitation if child support is not paid?

No, these are two separate issues. In addition, withholding visitation can cause you

Can my child decide who to live with?

If your child is fourteen or older, they can elect to live with one parent. If the court believes their election is not in their best interest, it can overrule it.

Do grandparents have custody / visitation rights?

No. Absent death, mental incapacity of both parents, or other special circumstances the grandparents will not be awarded custody and have no visitation rights in Georgia.

Do I need a parenting plan?

Yes! It should detail parenting time, set forth a visitation schedule as well as designate responsibilities for care of the child. It should also cover visitation for holidays and extended visitation time during the summer.

Will the terms of my separation agreement carry over into my divorce?

Georgia does not typically recognize legal separations. But the general answer is yes. Most courts will keep the status quo unless a burden of proof that circumstances have significantly changed can be met.

When is child custody typically decided?

Generally, custody will be decided twice – once at the temporary hearing and again at the trial of the case.

When can I file a modification action?

There are no time restrictions; however, there must be significant evidence as to the need for modification.

What if my spouse and I cannot agree?

The judge will make the determination in this case. The court can appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s interests.

If you facing child custody issues or just have questions about family law issies in general, call us at 770-609-1247 to speak with an attorney.