How a court determines child custody

Divorcing Georgia parents with concerns about child custody should examine their own living arrangements to anticipate what the court might use against them. Depending on the state, judge and individual court, determinations could vary regarding what is considered acceptable living accommodations. However, courts generally follow a few key rules.

For example, a judge will immediately look at the safety of the parents' neighborhoods. Homicides in the area and neighbors on the sex offender registry will raise red flags, and too much local crime might result in a judge not wanting a child to spend nights at that parent's home.

A judge will also look at a parent's age and financial situation when making a determination on custody. For example, a parent who pays child support may not be financially able to provide a child with more space. However, parents who are at least trying to make their homes livable for their children will likely get extra consideration from the court.

The child's age and gender will also be considered. If the child and parent are opposite sexes, the court may want the child to have their own bathroom. This may also be the case with opposite-sex siblings, especially if their bedroom will be shared. In cases where a child is much younger than another sibling, a judge may not want them to share a bedroom at all, regardless of whether they are opposite sexes.

An attorney with experience in child custody and child support could represent a non-custodial parent who wants more time with their children. Legal counsel may be able to prove to the court that the client's living situation is safe and adequate for the children.

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