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Modifying a child custody order in Georgia

There are many families in Georgia. The dynamics of each family are different though. Sometimes the parents are married and raise the children together in the same home. Other times the parents are divorced, in others the parents were never married to each other. Regardless of the relationship status of the parents, they still must provide for their children and raise them. How they do that often times depends on the relationship status of the parents though.

For those who are divorced or never married, often times a child custody order dictates which parent will be responsible for the decision making for the children and will also state when each parent will have visitation or parenting time with the children. This decision is ultimately made based on what is in the best interests of the child. However, as a child grows older many things can change for the both the child and the parents.

The law recognizes that and therefore parents can attempt to have a child custody order modified. It cannot simply because a parent no longer likes the current arrangement though. The parent seeking a modification must prove that there has been a material change in the circumstances which affects the children. Children over 14 years old also have a say in the determination based on their preferences, but ultimately the decision will still be based on what is in the best interests of the children. However, a child over 14's preferences may be a basis for a material change depending on the facts, but can only be a basis once every two years.

There are many families who have child custody orders that they follow. These orders can be in place for many years, but circumstances can certainly change over the life of a child. Therefore parents can seek modification of a child custody order when there has been a material change in the circumstances. These are very fact specific matters and it is important to understand the law to ensure that a modification is in the best interests of a child.

Source:, "Modification of a court order in a family law case" accessed on March 13, 2017

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