What to Know Before Speaking to a GA Custody Lawyer

Matters regarding child custody can be painful for everyone involved. Having parents agree on custody arrangements is ideal but not always possible. Parents want what they believe is best for their child, which is not always fair for the other parent. If you’re in the midst of a custody case or dispute and are looking for a GA custody lawyer, reach out to Family Matters Law Group. Our team of child custody attorneys in Atlanta, GA, can help get you the representation you deserve.


What Factors Influence Custody Decisions

There are several factors that Georgia courts take into consideration when deciding on a child custody arrangement. When you come into our office, our custody lawyers will discuss your previous relationship with the other parent. Were you married? If so, you both deserve equal rights when it comes to the custody of a child born during the marriage. If the child was born out of wedlock, Georgia law states that the mother has sole legal rights to the child. A father doesn’t automatically get rights because he signed the birth certificate. He must prove he is the father and that he has not abandoned the opportunity interest to develop a relationship with the child.

We will also have to consider some other factors. A court will want to know if there’s any history of family violence, alcohol, or drug use. Who takes care of the child when they’re sick, who cleans the home, and who helps with homework. Who makes sure the child is clean, fed, and going to school. If you want primary custody, you’ll have to prove why you are better equipped to care for the child. Having any documents that will help support your cause is vital.

What Types of Custody Are There?

Georgia has several types of physical custody. Often one parent is awarded primary physical custody while the other parent is awarded secondary physical custody/ reasonable visitation rights. There’s also a type of custody called joint physical custody. This means that both of the parents will have the child 50/50 percent of the time. A joint custody arrangement will sometimes result in lower, or even no child support ordered. For this to work, both parents must have the ability to effectively co-parent with one another. 


Do I Need a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a required document that outlines the custodial arrangement and each parent’s parenting time with the children. This plan will lay out a detailed schedule naming where the child will be each day of the week. Factors considered and outlined are where and when the child goes to school, where they’ll be on the weekends, and when they’ll be at each parent’s house. It will also include a schedule for holidays, school breaks, summer breaks, and vacations. This document is essential to help minimize any disagreements and make transitions as smooth as possible. 


How and When Is Child Support Ordered?

Typically in Georgia, there’s what is called a custodial parent and a noncustodial parent. The custodial parent is the one who has the child more than half of the time, and the noncustodial parent is the parent who will have the higher obligation to pay child support. To calculate child support, both parents adjusted gross incomes are added together and then matched with the number of children on the Basic Child-Support Obligation Schedule. The amount is then divided based on each parent’s income to determine how much each parent is responsible. 

There are exceptions to the basic calculation above. If you believe an amount should be higher or lower, we can ask the court to consider it when coming up with an amount that’s fair for both parents and the child. 

If you’re in the middle of a custody battle and are looking for a solution, let us help you. Family Matters Law Group has a team of experienced Atlanta family court attorneys that will provide fair representation and fight to get you the time you want with your child. Contact us today to set up a consultation to discuss your situation and see how we can help you move forward.