Child custody laws are not always black and white, and many different factors and circumstances ultimately determine where whether a child will live with you, your spouse, a grandparent or someone else entirely. If you are preparing for an upcoming Georgia custody hearing, understanding the basics of the state’s child custody laws can help streamline the process and, ideally, help you achieve a favorable outcome.
Common questions asked about Georgia’s child custody laws include:
What do I have to do to try to get custody of my child?
If you wish to gain custody of your child as a noncustodial parent, the first step involves filling out a petition requesting the change in custody. To do so, you will have to visit the superior court in the county where your child’s other parent lives. The next step involves attending a child custody hearing, where you will have to demonstrate how a material change in circumstances warrants the change in your current custody arrangement.
When can my child decide where to live?
Georgia, in many cases, will allow children to decide which parent they want to live with once they reach the age of 14. Your son or daughter can ask to change the custody arrangement after two years have passed.
Do Georgia grandparents have visitation rights?
In many circumstances, Georgia’s court system will consider the rights of a child’s biological parents before awarding visitation or custody to grandparents. There are, however, some exceptions. If neither parent is competent or present to care for a child, for example, the court system may consider granting visitation or custody to grandparents.
No two family law cases are the same, and there are many things that ultimately factor into child custody decisions. However, the more you understand about the state’s child custody system, the more likely you are to be well-prepared at your hearing.