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Atlanta Divorce Lawyer > Atlanta Child Custody Lawyer

When deciding matters of child custody in a Georgia divorce, the courts follow a policy toward encouraging both parents to share in decisions about their children and to each have a meaningful, continuous relationship with their kids. That said, every family situation is unique, and the court has the power to award physical and legal custody of the children solely to one parent or jointly to both as deemed by the judge to be in the best interests of the children. Having knowledgeable, strong and dedicated representation in an Atlanta divorce or child custody dispute is key to a satisfactory result that meets the needs of parent and child. A dedicated Atlanta child custody lawyer at Buckhead Family Law can provide the level of attention and experience you need in your custody matter, from amicable divorces to high-conflict child custody battles in the Atlanta family courts.

Georgia law on child custody does not make any presumption in favor or the mother or the father or for granting any particular form of custody to either parent. When deciding custody matters, the court will consider both physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the actual physical possession of the child, i.e. how much time the child spends with each parent. Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing in areas such as healthcare, education, religion, extracurricular and social activities.

Regarding physical and legal custody, the court can order custody to be held solely by one parent alone or shared jointly by both parents in any combination. For instance, one parent may be given primary custody of the children, with the other parent being scheduled for visitation or parenting on certain weeknights or weekends. Likewise, the judge could order that the primary custodial parent has the authority to make day-to-day decisions about the child but should consult the other parent on major decisions, although the primary parent may still have the final say.

If the parties cannot agree between themselves on parenting time and a parenting plan, the precise combination of joint or sole physical or legal custody will be determined by the judge.
The overriding factor in all child custody matters is the best interests of the child. This decision is made by the judge after considering a number of different factors, including:

  • The emotional bond between the child and each parent, and between the child and any siblings
  • The familiarity each parent has with the needs of the child
  • Each parent’s ability and disposition to meet the child’s needs
  • The quality of each parent’s home environment as a safe and nurturing place
  • Each parent’s history of parenting and involvement in the child’s life
  • The need for stability and continuity in the child’s life

As parents, it is highly likely that there will need to be some continuing ongoing contact post-divorce for years to come, regardless of whether your split was amicable or filled with conflict. While your relationship with your ex post-divorce may never be warm, it can at least be civil and productive. At Buckhead Family Law, we work to help you and your divorcing spouse develop a parenting plan that works for both parents and the children. If an agreement cannot be reached, we utilize our years of courtroom experience to make sure your voice is heard and that your needs are considered regarding parenting time and custodial decisions. With ten years of experience in Atlanta family law, attorney Melissa Davis is knowledgeable and familiar in working with custody evaluators as part of the process of determining child custody. We can help you arrive at a custody and visitation plan that meets your needs and is best for the kids.

For help establishing court orders for parenting in an Atlanta divorce or child custody matter, call Buckhead Family Law at 404-600-1403, or contact us online to schedule your consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced Atlanta child custody lawyer.

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