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Determining child custody early is important for divorcees

Child custody arrangements are an important part of your divorce. They detail where your child will live and how you're going to share time with your child and your child's other parent. When you arrive at a custody hearing, it's wise to have a parenting time schedule prepared ahead of time. Working this out yourself and with your spouse can help you guarantee that you both end up with a visitation and custody schedule you agree with.

Judges working on custody cases act in a child's best interest, not in the parents' best interest. That means that while both you and your spouse will have time to discuss your plans with the judge, he or she will make the final determination. In most cases, if you and your spouse agree to a parenting plan ahead of time, the judge is likely to approve it.

When your child turns 14 years old, he or she may choose who to live with and request changes in custody every two years after that point. If your child is already 14, know that what he or she says in court can impact what happens. The judge may determine that your child's decision is not in his or her best interest, though, in some cases. This is why it's important to create a plan prior to going to court and with your child's input if he or she is 14 or older.

Your attorney can help you create a parenting plan that works for you and your child. With the right negotiations, you and your spouse can work out a plan that your child benefits from.

Source: Georgia.gov, "Learning about Child Custody," accessed March 02, 2017

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