Child Custody FAQ

 

Few legal proceedings impact your relationship with your children as much as child custody. During this pivotal stage in your life — and theirs — it’s normal to have questions. Below are answers to some common questions about child custody.

Will I Lose My Kids?

Georgia law recognizes that children generally benefit from having both parents involved in their lives. Except in special circumstances, child custody is not an all-or-nothing ordeal. However, much depends on your past involvement in their lives. Were you the primary caretaker? Have you shown that you’re capable of providing for their needs on a daily basis? These are just a few of the many considerations that go into a child custody determination.

Want more information? Learn more about steps in the custody process and how to prepare.

How Is Child Custody Decided?

In Georgia — as in all states — custody determinations are based on the best interests of your children. This standard can be complicated to apply. The judge or custody evaluator will look at many factors to make this determination, including:

  • Whether one parent has been the primary caretaker
  • How both parents have been involved in the children’s upbringing
  • Your work schedules
  • The ages of your children
  • Their school and extracurricular activities
  • Connections with family and community support networks
  • Any history of substance abuse, hostile parenting or abuse (physical or emotional)
  • Your children’s preferences (if they’re old enough)

There are two types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical child custody determines how much of the time the child spends with each parent. This can range from one parent receiving sole physical custody, usually with visitation time for the other parent, to a 50/50 split between the parents’ homes.

Legal child custody refers to the right to make important parental decisions, such as where your child will go to school, who their doctor will be and what religion they will be brought up in. Parents usually share legal custody, even if one parent has sole physical custody. However, the court will strip a parent of legal custody rights if they are abusive or otherwise unfit.

Can I Request More Visitation To Reduce My Child Support Obligations?

While child custody and visitation arrangements are a factor in determining your child support obligation, they aren’t the only consideration. A judge ultimately has discretion in deciding whether to reduce child support based on increased visitation time.

Can I Change My Child Custody Or Child Support Obligation?

Yes. This can be done by requesting modification through the courts. It’s important to know that this can only be done if there is a significant change in circumstances such as a parental relocation, loss of income or a need for additional child support.

Get Answers About Your Situation

Before moving forward, you should always take the time to speak with a lawyer about the details of your situation. At Terri Herron Law in Roswell, Georgia, we make it easy to get in touch. Call 404-692-6487 to request your free consultation using our online contact form. Our attorney is highly knowledgeable in all aspects of family law, including child custody.

Appointments are available at our main office in Roswell or any of our conveniently location offices in Atlanta, Marietta, Snellville and Duluth. If you are unavailable to meet during business hours, we offer evening and weekend appointments upon request.