Skilled Macon Child Custody Lawyers Advocate for Clients
Georgia firm helps parents reach fair terms on residence and legal authority
During divorce, child custody can be one of the most difficult issues to resolve, even when both spouses truly want what’s best for their sons and daughters. At Martin Snow, LLP in Macon, we understand the sensitivities surrounding child custody decisions. Our knowledgeable attorneys provide effective, compassionate counsel to parents so that they can create a healthy environment for their children. With more than a century of combined legal experience, our lawyers are dedicated advocates for parental rights and can answer any questions you have about Georgia family law.
Experienced attorneys assist clients in understanding child custody in Georgia
Child custody orders in Georgia address two basic issues. Legal custody refers to the authority that parents have to make decisions concerning their child, including matters relating to medical care, education and religious upbringing. The other major concern that must be resolved when parents live apart is where the child will reside, known as physical custody. Both legal and physical custody can be shared. Parents can jointly submit a detailed parenting plan to the court or propose competing terms that will then then be decided on by the judge. Our attorneys will stand up for your interests and those of your children when setting custody arrangements either through negotiations or in court.
How is custody in Georgia determined?
Judges are required to make custody and visitation decisions based on what is in the child’s best interests first. They look at various factors when making these evaluations, including:
- The environment within each parent’s home
- Each parent’s ability to nurture their children
- Whether parents can provide clothes, food and other necessities for their children
Judges will also consider criminal histories, substance abuse problems, mental stability, physical health and other factors. They may also take a child’s preference into account if the child is at least 11 years old. When children reach 14, they can elect which parent they wish to live with. After reviewing your situation in detail, we’ll support your efforts and custody goals.
Do grandparents have any rights in Georgia?
Grandparents who seek to petition the court for visitation rights over the objections of the child’s parent(s) face a serious challenge. Previously, grandparents had a greater ability to gain visitation rights if their son or daughter no longer lived with their grandchild due to a divorce or death. However, a recent decision of the Georgia Supreme Court might require a showing that the grandparent served as a caregiver for the child. In situations where parental fitness is questioned, grandparents can apply for custody, but the parents’ wishes will typically be given preference unless the court determines that doing so presents some risk to the child. If you are a grandparent seeking visitation or custody rights, we will counsel you based upon your unique situation.
Can you modify custody in Georgia?
Like alimony terms, child custody and visitation orders can be modified if a petition is approved by the court. Custody modification requests will typically be considered only if both parents consent or there has been a significant change in family circumstances that justifies the adjustment, such as a job change that compels a custodial parent to relocate out of state. If you are seeking a custody modification, we’ll advise you about what kind of events judges may consider to change orders. Visitation modifications can be requested every two years. For these petitions, you don’t need to show a change in circumstances as long as the request was made correctly. We can guide you in requesting a visitation order change.