Granting child custody to divorcing parents is one of the most important actions that family law courts take.
The legal and physical custody of a child will determine who can provide the resources needed to support their best interests.
There are other factors that influence the intentions of parents seeking child custody. Understanding the motives of you and your spouse will help you determine the best legal options for securing the wellbeing of your child.
Child Custody in Georgia
Every state has its own rules related to child custody in a divorce. Georgia family law courts evaluate the many factors that impact the best interests of children and base their decisions on these considerations.
In most cases, court judges consider both parents to be responsible for providing the care needed to raise a child. But they can use their discretion to determine how custody will be shared.
Joint custody is commonly established, giving each parent a share of the responsibilities. In some cases, sole custody may be granted to one parent.
Child custody is also distinguished between physical and legal custody. Physical custody relates to the physical living arrangements of a child.
Legal custody gives you the authority to decide how your child is raised. A parent with legal custody makes choices related to the child’s schooling, health care, religious upbringing, and other important aspects of development.
What Motivates a Parent to Seek Child Custody?
Child custody is established by the courts in cases where parents don’t agree on who should have legal or physical custody.
Custody can also be modified in the future as a result of any changes that occur in the lives of the child or either parent.
The following are the most common motives for securing or modifying a child custody agreement:
- Your Child’s Safety
There are many risks to the safety of a child. Domestic violence or a history of abuse may put a child at risk of harm.
A parent may seek to obtain sole custody in order to prevent an abusive spouse from harming the child.
The courts consider safety risks and evaluate any danger to a child or expressed concern. A child may not want to stay with a parent, indicating that some abuse or potential threats may exist.
- The Physical Location of Parents
If a parent is relocating, it can interfere with child custody agreements and preferences. Family law courts must determine the motivation of the relocating parent and how it may impact visitation arrangements.
A new location may disrupt the daily life of the child. Any evidence indicating that it may interfere with the child’s schooling or social development should be submitted to the courts.
- Making Sure Parents Follow Through on an Agreement
A parent may fear that the other won’t follow through on a visitation agreement. This is another reason why a parent would seek physical and legal custody rights.
It’s also one of the reasons why parents seek to modify an already established child custody agreement. The courts will evaluate the reasons why one parent hasn’t met the terms of the agreement along with other factors.
- Child Custody and the Death of a Parent
When a parent passes away, custody agreements will need to be modified. A non-custodial surviving parent must demonstrate the ability to obtain custody and support the child.
Most non-custodial parents are granted custody when a parent dies. But in some cases, the courts may deny custody and seek other avenues for ensuring the wellbeing of the child.
In addition to the motives listed here, parents have a wide range of interests and concerns relating to child custody.
Regardless of your motivation, you need to prioritize the best interests of your child. Family court judges will do the same.
Your family law attorney can guide you through the process of outlining and obtaining the custody agreement you need for the wellbeing of your entire family.