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Who awards custody in a divorce?

When we enter into the union of marriage, we don’t think about the possibility of divorce. In fact, just the opposite, that it will never happen to us. That we will stay together forever and we begin to plan our long future together. This dream often includes having children and watching them grow up to be healthy, happy adults together. However, life is unpredictable, and a host of circumstances can lead us to decide to divorce. What if you have children, who decides who gets custody?

If the divorce is amicable and both parents can agree to joint or sole custody, you get to choose as long as it is in the best interests of the child. It would be fantastic if life worked like that and every divorce was friendly, but often, when going through a stressful situation such as ending a marriage, it doesn’t. Whether we wish to or not or whether we even notice that we are not acting as we would typically, we leave our judgment by the wayside as emotionally heated debates ensue. One of the most difficult decisions to make is who the children will live with and how visitation will work.

Either way, amicable or complicated, each party in the divorce should choose separate legal representation to help them through the decision-making process to formulate a child custody agreement or order and understand visitation rights. They help you to understand your case and walk you through the 17 specific factors the Georgia courts use to base their approval or denial of child custody arrangements both parties have agreed to such as the ability to care for the child and emotional connection.  If reaching a decision on your own is not possible, a Judge may intervene to determine the best interests of the child.

If you are considering divorce or are in the midst of this very personal decision, it is beneficial to seek legal counsel you are comfortable with as early as possible. They can help you through each step of the process to ensure your children continue to thrive after the divorce.  Review your options and choose a Family Law attorney experienced in child custody matters as they can help draft parental visitation orders as well as custody agreements/orders and help to resolve any child custody dispute.

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