For some parents, divorce or separation isn’t that complicated. They already have a written agreement with one another discussing how they will share custody of their children and split their property across two households.
The average family facing a parental separation or divorce will not have such agreements in place, and many are left scrambling for solutions when they decide to go their separate ways. If parents can’t work out their parenting plan on their own, they will likely end up in family court.
Custody proceedings in the Georgia family courts may be necessary for those who cannot decide on their own the most important terms for their parenting plans. If you can’t agree on how to divide your parenting time, how to share birthdays or how to allocate decision-making authority, then a judge will help your family by setting those terms for you. What family issues influence the decisions judges make in litigated custody matters?
Family circumstances are a key consideration
A judge needs to learn about your family’s lifestyle prior to this custody dispute. They will want to know who spends more time with the children, how close the relationship each parent has with the children is and possibly even with the older children in your family would prefer.
Judges should always focus on the best interests of the children, which should include being safe and well-supported. Most judges want to see both parents involved with the children, but there may be circumstances in which a judge will agree that one parent should have full or primary custody.
If your ex has an issue with substance abuse, a history of domestic violence or severe physical or mental health issues that prevent them from being a full-time parent, those concerns may influence how the judge divides parenting time and legal custody or decision-making authority. A judge may also consider evidence that one parent has intentionally tried to alienate the other from the children when deciding the best way to divide parental responsibilities for your family.
Learning about the considerations that will influence a judge’s custody decision can help you present your side of the story in a more effective manner when you go to family court.