When parents donít agree on child custody, a judge decides legal and physical custody, as well as a visitation schedule, on their behalf. Georgia courts determine child custody based on whatís in each childís best interest. Judges consider several factors when deciding custody, including each of the following:
- each parentís stability and home environment
- each parentís relationship with the child
- each parentís involvement in the childís medical, educational, and social needs
- each parentís ability to properly parent a child, and provide for the childís basic needs
- the childís relationship with siblings, half-siblings, and other occupants of each parentís residence
- each parentís willingness to encourage a positive relationship between the child and other parent
- each parentís physical and mental health
- either parentís history of domestic violence or substance abuse, and
- any other factor that affects a childís welfare.
Children aged 14 or older may choose the parent theyíd rather live with, subject to a judgeís approval. Courts must consider a childís preference when the child is between 11 and 14, and may consider a younger childís opinion when the child is mature enough to make a reasonable preference. Read my article on a childís preference in Georgia custody proceedings at divorcenet.com.
When the parents donít agree on custody, the judge may appoint a guardian ad litem, whose job it is to investigate factors affecting the custody decision and make a recommendation on custody to the court.
Schedule a consultation with Aaron to discuss your child custody case today.