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Child custody considerations in Georgia

Child custody arrangements in Georgia have to address two specific areas that form the basis of a parenting situation post-split. These are legal and physical custody, both of which govern specific decisions related to a child’s life.

Legal custody pertains to the right to make major decisions affecting the child’s welfare, including education, health care and religious upbringing. Parents may share legal custody, which means they have to make decisions together about these matters.

In some cases, the court may give this decision-making power in a specific area to one parent so that person would make all decisions for the child in the applicable areas. For example, one parent might make education decisions while the other decides about religious matters.

Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to where the child lives and the logistics of day-to-day care. In most cases, parents share physical custody. A parenting time schedule will dictate when the child is with each parent. It should include a regular schedule, a holiday schedule and terms for vacations.

The role of a parenting plan

Georgia law requires divorcing parents to submit a parenting plan to the court. This plan outlines how they intend to share responsibilities, including detailed provisions for the child’s living arrangements, education, health care and extracurricular activities.

A well-constructed parenting plan can significantly reduce conflicts by providing clear guidelines and expectations for both parents. It’s advisable for parents to be thorough and forward-thinking when drafting this plan, considering potential future disputes and how they might be resolved.

Legal assistance is crucial when a divorce involves children. Having relevant terms related to a parenting situation laid out in writing can help to reduce the stress of the situation, set expectations for everyone involved and provide greater stability for kids.