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Legal custody and its impact on child custody

Divorce in Georgia is seldom easy and rarely entered into lightly. This can be particularly true when young children are involved. While parents may no longer wish to remain married, they typically share a mutual concern for the welfare of their children. All of this can contribute to the negotiating involved with establishing child custody.

There are two legal terms to keep in mind when considering child custody, legal custody and physical custody. Typically, the parent with whom the child physically resides for the majority of the time is said to be the custodial parent, and that parent has physical custody. Some parents strive for a 50-50 split, which is considered joint custody. In addition to having joint physical custody, joint legal custody is also important.

A parent who does not have legal custody, even in a joint custody situation, is limited in one's rights with the child. For example, if a parent doesn't have legal custody, one may be barred from being included in medical, religious and other important decisions involving one's child. In addition, if the child is in the custody of a parent who does not have legal custody, and the child is involved in an accident, the parent may not have the right to take the child to an emergency room.

Divorcing parents will typically do their best to act in the best interest of their children. The courts act in the children's best interests when considering child custody issues. A parent who is considering a divorce in Georgia may benefit from consulting with an experienced family law attorney who can explain the different options available and may be able to advise the client on what options would best suit one's current situation.

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