When it comes to custody of children, each state has various laws and regulations that need to be followed. If you are a parent and you would like to be granted custody of your child, it’s important for you to know the various steps you need to take for the state you reside in, such as Georgia. In Georgia, parents are treated as equal concerning child custody, a parenting plan is required, and child support payments may be mandatory.

When arranging the custody of your child, both parents are considered and treated as equal. Georgia awards two types of custody: legal and physical. When a parent receives legal custody, that parent has the right to make major decisions concerning the child.  That can include medical, educational and/or religious decisions. If the parents have joint custody then both parents get to make major decisions concerning the child. They both also have legal rights and equal responsibility when making decisions. Physical custody pertains to which parent the child lives with. If the parents have a joint physical custody arrangement, both parents are allowed an equal amount of time and contact with the child. However, if the child is fourteen years or older, they can often make the decision about which parent they want to live with, but a judge can also overrule that decision if he or she does not feel that the child’s decision is in their best interest. There are also other options such as split custody, which usually takes place when more than one child is involved. This form of custody is where half the children live with one parent, and the other half of the children live with the other parent. Split custody isn’t as common but most divorce courts and family law professionals feel that split custody arrangements decrease the emotional and physical toll custody battles can have on children. While that may be true, it could also cause problems if there is an odd number of children in the family.

A parenting plan is also required in Georgia child custody arrangements. These arrangements ensure that the child’s best interest is considered. Parenting plans also require parents to consider the modifications needed as their child’s needs and wants grow as they mature in age. This is done to minimize the amount modifications needed later on in the child’s life. In these plans, the parent that has physical custody will make daily decisions and emergency decisions as long as the child is living with that parent. In other situations, regardless of the physical custody, both parents have access to any of their child’s record under all circumstances. Parenting plans usually include the location of the child each day of the year, including holidays, birthdays, vacations, school breaks, and any other special occasion. Transportation will also be discussed thoroughly, as well as transportation costs. Supervision and who will be the supervisor, how the parents will distribute the decision making authority and any limitations concerning one parent or the other will also be resolved. In a split custody arrangement, the children may be placed with a parent of the same sex. Also, if one child has a difficult relationship with one parent a split custody arrangement could be the best solution. Parents must stay within close proximity of each other and no one parent can have all of the children at any time. Visitation can be granted to both parents, where the children will be able to spend time together or will switch households if needed or desired.

In the state of Georgia, child support payments are usually calculated by a formula and factors such as the gross income of both parents, self employment taxes, any pre-existing child support order, if a parent has another child to support, health insurance premiums, etc. The amount to be paid is determined by the Georgia Child Support Commission who has created an online child support calculator. In Georgia, child support payments must be paid until the child turns 18, dies, gets married, or becomes emancipated. If the child is attending secondary school payments could last until the child turn twenty years old.

When making an decision about seeking child custody in Georgia, it is critical to understand and comprehend all the states laws that could impact the claim. While obtaining or discussing child custody, it is not always easy. Regardles of if one parent may make it a difficult process by not cooperating or not wanting to pay child support, it is important to remember what the child wants and what’s best for them. Any parents considering going to court about child custody should get a lawyer with good experience in Georgia child custody laws to answers all your questions and address all your concerns, and help you come to the best decision concerning your child.

Works Cited

The Basics of Child Custody Laws in Georgia.” Attorneys.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2017

Split Custody Schedules.” Our Family Wizard. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2017