Understanding Georgia’s Child Custody And Support Laws
In domestic relation cases, the most difficult issue to deal with is determining which parent is awarded the primary physical custody of the child/children. Oftentimes, the question of “who gets the kids?” is an emotional roller coaster for each parent.
Custody And Visitation
Custody is simply the legal term in court-ordered determinations that outlines which parent the child/children live with. Visitation is simply a court-ordered determination as to how often the noncustodial parent may visit the child/children.
Custody and visitation are never considered to be final. In Georgia, the law does not favor either the mother or father. Rather, they look to the relationship of each parent with the child.
In any case involving the placement of a minor child, the court’s standard for awarding custody is determined by what is in the best interests of the minor child/children. In determining this “best interest” standard, courts of this state look to some or all of the following factors:
- Who is the primary caregiver?
- Psychological/mental and/or physical fitness of each parent
- Preferences of child/children
- Where each parent lives?
- Any prior abandonment or surrender of custody
Under Georgia law, in most circumstances, a noncustodial parent must pay child support. To calculate an award, the courts use both parties’ income. However, there are several factors that can increase or decrease the amount awarded by the court.
Those factors include:
- Ages of children
- A child’s medical costs
- Educational costs
- Day care costs
- Shared physical custody arrangements, including extended visitations
- A party’s other support obligations to another household
- A party’s own medical expenses
- The income of the custodial parent
- Travel expenses associated with visitation
You may be entitled to an increase or decrease based upon one or all of these factors, and it is important you consult with an attorney experienced in litigating these issues before a Georgia Superior Court.