Custody, Child Support And Parental Rights
Just as daily life revolves around the needs and activities of your children, the best interests of your children take center stage in divorce. Differing visions about care and custody of children become magnified, triggering heated disputes and legal tangles.
The Marietta firm of Hill Macdonald, LLC, delivers practical perspectives and strong advocacy for resolving these complex family law matters. Our Marietta child custody attorneys have 25 years of combined experience in mediating, negotiating and litigating child custody and child support. Our familiarity with Georgia family law and the local judges of Cobb, Fulton and Cherokee counties helps us develop the right legal strategies for the most favorable outcome for you.
We emphasize workable solutions over spiteful or shortsighted tactics – after the dust clears, you will always be co-parents, putting trust and communication at a premium.
In The Best Interests Of The Children
Our skilled lawyers can capably address all issues relating to your children:
- Contested custody proceedings
- Negotiating joint custody and parenting plans
- Initial determination of child support
- Post-decree modifications or parent relocation
- Enforcement and contempt of court
- Paternity and legitimation (unmarried parents)
- Domestic violence protection orders
Even after court orders are finalized, we can assist you with appeals of family court rulings.
Answers To Common Custody And Support Questions
It’s natural to have many questions when going through a child custody or support matter. Below, we’ve answered some of the most common questions we hear from clients and prospective clients.
What is the most likely custody arrangement in Georgia?
As mentioned above, Georgia courts are required to make custody decisions in the best interests of children. In many cases, judges find that keeping both parents actively involved is in the children’s best interests (barring a history of neglect, abuse or other problems). Therefore, the most likely outcome would be some sort of shared physical custody between the two parents along with shared legal custody (decision-making authority).
Because it is difficult to split time perfectly equally, it is likely that one parent will be given a greater share of physical custody, but both parents would nonetheless remain a regular presence for their kids.
Is it possible to change custody or support arrangements later on?
Yes, it is, under certain conditions and circumstances. If either parent has experienced a material change that will have an impact on the well-being of the child or children, they or the other parent can petition the court to modify the custody or support order.
Reasons to modify a support order could include a job loss or a substantial change in income. Reasons to modify the custody order could include one parent’s need or desire to relocate with the kids or significant changes in their ability to care for their children due to time or health constraints. We discuss this topic in greater detail on our modifications page.
Does the child get to decide who they live with in Georgia?
The answer is yes, with some important qualifications. First of all, under Georgia law, the child must be age 14 or older to have their stated preference honored. Even then, a judge can decide to overrule the child’s decision if such an arrangement would not be in the child’s best interest.
The important takeaway is that a custody case is not open-and-shut just because a teenager knows which parent they would like to live with after the divorce. It will be important to demonstrate that the preferred arrangement will meet the “best interests” standard.
Sensible Solutions And Aggressive Advocacy
We encourage and enable parents to resolve custody disputes out of court, including the use of alternative dispute resolution. However, sometimes there is no middle ground, the other parent initiates a hostile action, or complex issues must be decided by a judge.
Vic Brown Hill and Brad E. Macdonald are accomplished trial lawyers who prepare for litigation to give you leverage and peace of mind in the event that negotiations do not pan out. We will vigorously defend your interests and pursue your goals, always with your children’s well-being at the heart of the equation.