How is Custody Determined?

How is Child Custody Determined in Georgia?

Custody issues are either resolved by agreement of the parents or a court will determine the issue and draft an order and a parenting plan. If the Court is deciding the issue of child custody, it will take into consideration all the circumstances of the case and seek the best interest of the child. Factors considered in making this determination include but are not limited to the following:

  1. The love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties between each parent and the child;
  2. The love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties between the child and his or her siblings, half siblings, and step siblings and the residence of such other children;
  3. The capacity and disposition of each parent to give the children love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and rearing of the child;
  4. Each parent’s knowledge and familiarity of the child and the child’s needs;
  5. The capacity and disposition of each parent to provide food, clothing, medical care, day to day needs, and other necessary basic care, with consideration made for the potential payment of child support by the other parent;
  6. The home environment of each parent considering the promotion of nurturance and safety of the child rather than superficial or material factors;
  7. The importance of continuity in the child’s life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity;
  8. The stability of the family unit of each of the parents and the presence or absence of each parent’s support systems within the community to benefit the child;
  9. Each parent’s involvement, or lack thereof, in the child’s educational, social, and extracurricular activities;
  10. Each parent’s employment schedule and the related flexibility or limitations, if any, of a parent to care for the child;
  11. The home, school, and community record, and history of the child, as well as any health or educational special needs of the child;
  12. Each parent’s past performance and relative abilities for future performance of parenting responsibilities;
  13. The willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent, consistent with the best interest of the child;
  14. Any recommendation by a court appointed custody evaluator or guardian ad litem;
  15. Any evidence of substance abuse by either parent; and
  16. Any family violence issues;

Any time you are in a fight over child custody you need to review the factors listed herein and attempt to objectively apply them to your situation. A through discussion with your attorney can assist you while considering your options. Always remember when considering child custody, the court is not interested in either party but shall always be seeking the best interest of the child.