Atlanta Child Custody Lawyer
Fighting for Your Child’s Best Interests in Cobb, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Forsyth & Fulton Counties
Child custody can be one of the most difficult issues for divorcing parents or in paternity cases involving unmarried biological parents. This issue can lead to emotionally charged disputes fueled by all the factors of a broken relationship, as well as the perceived threat of losing control over one’s child. Parents in this situation need to understand their rights and responsibilities, how Georgia family law impacts this issue, and how best to approach this sensitive and challenging matter.
Robert G. Wellon Attorney & Counselor at Law can help. Rob Wellon brings a breadth of experience, skills, and resources to work for you. He been in practice resolving these issues for over 40 years; the outstanding quality of his representation has garnered him prestigious recognitions, such as the highest peer-reviewed rating of AV-Preeminent® by the legal directory of Martindale-Hubbell®. He can assist you in resolving your custody matter through careful case preparation followed by skilled negotiation, mediation, or litigation.
Reach out to Robert G. Wellon Attorney & Counselor at Law for a free case evaluation with an Atlanta child custody attorney. Contact Rob online or call (404) 856-3241 to book your appointment.
Child Custody in Georgia
Georgia courts base their custody decisions on what is in the best interest of the child. They also review parental factors to ensure that a parent has the ability and proper priorities for raising a child. The courts do not presume that either parent will automatically be awarded custody or that mothers are to be favored over fathers. Under Georgia law, frequent and continuing contact with both parents is preferred, and the courts encourage parents to work together in raising children and remaining an integral part of their lives. This holds true unless it has been shown that a parent has a history of domestic violence or substance abuse that could put a child’s safety and wellbeing at risk while under their care.
Two major issues must be determined in any child custody case — legal custody and physical custody:
- Legal custody gives a parent the right and responsibility to make major decisions in the child’s life, such as education, health care, religious matters, extra-curricular activities, and the like.
- Physical custody gives a parent the right to have the child reside with them.
These two forms of custody may be jointly shared by parents or awarded to one parent only. If physical custody is shared, a written parenting plan can be worked out and submitted to the court, detailing how this arrangement will be handled. Parents can agree between themselves on this plan, which will likely be court-approved as long as it is in the child’s best interests.
A parent who does not share physical custody of a child is usually granted visitation rights according to a schedule. Parenting plans will detail time spent with the child, such as weekends, holidays, vacations, birthdays, and other events.
How Do Judges Decide Custody?
When custody is disputed, it will be left up to a judge to determine the issue. Judges will look at many factors in making their decisions.
These factors can include but are not limited to:
- Each parent’s relationship with the child
- The child’s relationship with siblings and the residence of these other children
- The ages and health of the parents
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child in terms of food, shelter, and other day-to-day needs, as well as non-material nurture and involvement in the child’s life/activities
- Each parent’s home environment, in terms of stability
- The importance of continuing the child’s current environment, in terms of daycare, schooling, extracurricular activities, and social connections
- How willing a parent is to foster the child’s relationship with the other parent
- The child’s wishes, if old enough to have a valid opinion
When Can Custody Be Sought?
Custody can be sought by parents in a pending divorce as well as in post-divorce situations where a parent can seek the modification of the current custody order based on a material change in circumstances. Third parties can also seek custody if it is demonstrated that the parent(s) are unfit.
Need Help with Child Custody?
Child custody is a major and crucial issue for parents both during and after a divorce. Get the experienced assistance you need from an Atlanta child custody lawyer who brings decades of experience in negotiating, mediating, and litigating parental rights for Georgians.
Call (404) 856-3241 or contact Rob online to speak about your case.