How parents can prepare for child custody proceedings in Georgia

There are several things parents can do to prepare for child custody proceedings to ensure that their children’s best interests are protected.

For many divorcing couples in Georgia, child custody proceedings are often the most emotionally trying aspect of ending their marriage. To ensure that the child custody arrangement they devise benefits their children, there are several things parents should know before they attend a custody hearing and while the custody-related proceedings are occurring.

Before a custody hearing

Before a child custody hearing, parents should craft a parenting plan that includes several specific details. According to the state of Georgia, these include the following:

  • A schedule that outlines which parent the children will spend their time with on every day of the year
  • An agreement that details how the children will spend their vacations and holidays
  • An agreement that indicates how one parent will be able to contact the other parent when he or she is taking care of the children

In this parenting plan, divorcing parents should also include a proposal for how their children will be transported from one parent's home to the other and what drop-off points will be used.

What happens during custody proceedings

During child custody proceedings, the judge will make decisions with the best interests of the children in mind. While the judge will listen to points made by both parents, he or she will carefully consider the children's safety, comfort and health as well as each party's fitness as a parent.

At the conclusion of the child custody proceedings, according to the state of Georgia, the judge will either award sole or joint custody to the parents. Unless a significant change in circumstance occurs, this decision cannot be amended. However, when a child turns 14, he or she can choose which parent he or she wants to live with and can request a change in custody.

Mistakes to avoid

According to The Huffington Post, there are several mistakes divorcing parents should avoid making to protect their ability to acquire sole or joint custody. For example, parents should refrain from disparaging their future ex-spouse. Parents who consistently criticize their former spouse, cannot control their anger or negatively influence their children's relationships with their other parent may jeopardize their chances of winning custody. Parents should also avoid being absent from their children's lives and showing a lack of control when it comes to their emotions.

Parents in Georgia who wish to acquire sole or joint custody of their children should consider working with an attorney who can help them avoid making these common errors during custody proceedings. If you and your spouse are contemplating divorce, reach out to an attorney to find out what you can do to protect your interests as well as the best interests of your children.

Keywords: divorce, child, custody