When parents with minor children separate or divorce in Georgia, they must create a parenting plan that provides a healthy and stable life for the children. Filing for child custody can be a daunting process and can lead to much fighting between parents when the circumstances are not civil. But it’s important to establish a legal plan for how and when the children will spend time with each parent. Child custody arrangements can be seen as inconvenient by the adults involved, but the children will benefit from a plan that puts their needs first.
Filing for custody
One party may file for custody in Georgia by filing a petition at the nearest county Clerk’s Office. During a divorce, this petition will be included in the divorce papers. Once filed, the party petitioning for custody must serve the papers to the other party in an approved manner using a local sheriff’s office or process server.
Parents should understand that there is a difference between physical custody and legal custody. The children will live primarily with the party that has physical custody while legal custody gives a parent the right to make decisions for the children. With shared custody arrangements, one parent will be designated as the primary custodial parent, giving them the final say in decisions made for the children. A parent may file a petition to have custody arrangements modified if circumstances change.
Legal advice can provide answers
Georgia parents who are trying to determine the best child custody arrangement should seek advice from an experienced family law attorney. There are many factors to be considered when it comes to custody arrangements. Most importantly, parents must try to work together to create an agreement that helps the children thrive.