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Some general concepts of child custody in Georgia divorce cases

This is a general summary of the highlights of the rules of child custody in divorce cases in Georgia. Initially, the paternity of the father must be established before legal rights or duties can be attributed to the individual. This is usually not an issue in most divorce or custody matters, but it may come up in a variety of different situations that are too voluminous and complex to discuss in this article.

The foundation of the custody process is the often-heard slogan that what is in the "best interest" of the children will govern. That, however, is a highly subjective determination that can be molded to the personal bias of the family law judge who is making the decisions in the case. The system is made more objective by often requiring a home study inspection and evaluation by professional social workers who will provide a report to the court.

However, where one household is relatively poor or struggling and the other is relatively well-to-do, the decision-maker should try to keep in mind that those differences are not enough to make a true determination. The wealthy parent may in fact provide the less worthy at parenting than the relatively poor parent. The custody case should not boil down to a shopping list of practical resources and assets to be decided on the basis strictly of which party can offer the most monetary and material benefits.

Sometimes, another pernicious factor exists in Georgia divorce and custody cases and throughout the country. This is the case where a child has been overly influenced or outright brainwashed by one parent against the other. In fact, one of the biggest obstacles to a healthy upbringing for some children resides in the manipulating, overbearing hands of a parent who wants to "convict" the other in the eyes of the child. That syndrome is a sure tip-off to a family law judge that something is seriously the matter with that parent's view of proper parenting, and such a dynamic can be a determinative factor in some custody cases.

Source: The Huffington Post, "A Legal Overview of Child Custody and Support in Divorce Cases", Brad Reid, June 24, 2015

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