In general, Georgia family courts prefer not to alter child custody agreements if they appear to be working for the child and both parents. However, there are some situations that may require a child custody modification.
For example, a court will consider a modification if the child is in any sort of danger. When assessing an alleged danger, a judge will take into account whether there is domestic violence taking place in a parent’s home, whether the child is in imminent danger and whether the child has expressed a desire to stay away from the home in question. The court may also consider making changes if a parent is relocating. A judge will be interested in the motivation of the parent who is moving and whether the change will make the current child custody arrangement difficult to maintain. The court might ask if the parents have attempted to negotiate a new visitation schedule and how a child’s daily life will be impacted by the new schedule.
A family court may also consider a modification if one parent repeatedly disregards the current child custody agreement. The judge will want to know why the visitation schedule is not being met and if the parents have had any communication on the matter.
If the custodial parent dies, the court may be forced to change the payment. Typically, family courts like to place children with the noncustodial parent in this situation. However, if the noncustodial parent is unable to care for the child, other arrangements will be made.
Parents who need to help creating child custody and visitation arrangements could seek the advice of a family law attorney. An attorney could review a parent’s situation and negotiate a custody agreement that is in the best interests of the child.