One of the more difficult decisions that needs to be made during a divorce is determining child custody. Parents will no longer be living together and so they will no longer be seeing their children every day. It can be difficult to accept that they will need to split time with their ex-spouse, especially if they have concerns about that parent’s ability to provide for their children’s needs properly. They may also question the other parent’s ability to make informed and proper decisions regarding the children’s education or medical needs.
Under Georgia law, when determining child custody, the decision is not based on what is in the best interests of the parents, it is guided by what is in the best interests of the children. Courts make this decision based on guidelines under state law.
Factors used to determine the best interests of the child
There are a number of factors that judges must consider when making the decision. The factors judges analyze include, but are not limited to:
- The bond and emotional ties between the parent and child.
- The capacity of each parent to provide love and guidance to the child.
- Each parent’s knowledge of the children’s needs and ability of each parent to provide for those needs.
- The home environment of each parent’s home.
- The importance of keeping consistency for the child.
- The mental and physical health of the parents and stability in their homes.
- Each parent’s involvement in the child’s education and activities.
- Each parent’s work schedule and ability to care for the child based on the work schedule.
- The willingness of the parents to encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent.
- Whether there has been physical abuse.
- Whether either parent has substance abuse issues.
All of the relevant factors will be analyzed based on what occurred during the marriage and custody and parenting time will be determined based on those facts. Experienced attorneys understand how these factors are analyzed and may be able to guide one through the process.