You and your spouse decide to divorce, but you share custody of your children. After analysis, a court may decide whether to award you joint custody based on the best interests of your child. Judges look at many elements when determining custody arrangements, but they are required to keep the physical safety of your children at the top of their priority list.
Understanding the process of obtaining custody of your children may help you better prepare for court proceedings, and discussing your circumstances with an experienced family law attorney provides the support you need during your separation.
Drafting a parenting plan
Before determining custody, a judge may ask you to draft a parenting plan. Assuming you and your ex-spouse each want equal custody, you have the authority to work out a plan that works best for your schedules and your children. The parenting plan should include:
- Which days – weekdays and weekends – each parent will have custody
- Whom will have custody on holidays
- Determination of a pick-up or drop-off location
- Detailing time schedules
- Where the children may or may not be taken when traveling
- When and how the other parent may contact your children
You may present your agreed-upon parenting plan to a judge, and the judge will further examine your children’s best interest.
Best interest and other factors
A Georgia divorce judge keeps the safety and security of your children in mind when making even the most miniscule decision regarding your children’s custody. He or she may look at:
- Whom is more financially available to take care of the children
- Which parent takes care of more at-home duties
- Whether a parent has been convicted of domestic violence
- The mental and physical state of both parents and children
When your children turn 14, they may legally decide which parent to live with in Georgia. If your child falls into the age requirement, a court may interview your children to determine exact custody arrangements.
Usually, if both parents agree and no convictions or red flags exist with either parent, the court will determine that the drafted parenting plan suits the family. It is essential to speak with an attorney when dealing with custody arrangements, as he or she is knowledgeable in helping you obtain the best custody plan for you and your children.