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Factors to consider when negotiating child custody in Georgia


When a Georgia couple decides to end a relationship, whether it is a marital one or simply a shared domicile, there are several subjects they may encounter, including the splitting up of property and who will be responsible for which debts. These considerations usually take a back seat, however, if the couple has children together. Determining where the children will live, and how involved each parent will be in the children's lives will often be the most important issue a couple will face when splitting up.

We've discussed a number of the mechanics of child custody in Georgia, including the 'best interests of the child' standard used by Georgia courts, and the use of parenting plans to help smooth the negotiation process. We've looked at the difference between legal and physical custody, and highlighted the fact that coming to an agreement with regard to custody can often help avoid the needless expense and emotional anguish of a trial on the matter. This time, let's take a very quick look at some factors parents may want to consider when discussing their parenting plans.

As we have seen, in most cases, parents will share legal custody of a child. This means that each will have a responsibility and a say in the various important decisions to be made about a child's life. Parents negotiating a parenting plan may wish to remember this and make allowances for each parent having access to information necessary to make such decisions, such as medical and school records and the like. Further, contingency plans for emergency cases should be considered, including that the parent with physical custody of the child at the time of the emergency should make any necessary decisions, with a way to contact the other parent as soon as reasonably possible.

Parents that are splitting up should consider that Georgia courts are generally going to presume that a continuance of the parent-child relationship with each parent is in the child's best interests, and make agreements with that in mind. They may also wish to remember that the needs of children change as they grow and mature, and that creating contingencies for changes in the parenting plan could save much financial and emotional expense in the long run. There is a lot to decide in cases like this, and it may be that Georgia parents will be better off seeking the advice of experienced professionals who can be objective and have a history of handling child custody negotiations.

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