A custody case often arises during a divorce of the child's parents. The couple has separated and a divorce action filed. In Georgia and most states, the child custody issue can be listed in the divorce complaint or by answer in a counterclaim. Alternatively, a petition or other document may be separately filed, whether or not a divorce has been filed, in which one party asks for custody.
While the divorce speeds or inches ahead, custody is litigated and most often settled by mutual agreement. In that event, a custody agreement, which likely includes negotiated visitation terms, is presented to the court for approval. In many instances, an agreement may call for "joint" or "shared" custody in which the parties share equally the custody and supervision of the children.
In the classic and more traditional model, one parent takes primary legal custody while the other parent is given visitation privileges as defined in a written agreement filed with and approved by the court. In that agreement, visitation can be generously imparted to one parent and described generally as "liberal" or it can be meticulously itemized in a long, sometimes obsessive, visitation directive. Thus, each arrangement will be a unique reflection of the abilities and needs of that particular family's situation.
One recently reported case is somewhat unique in that the unmarried parties had a child after a relatively brief time together. A woman has filed a child custody case in a New York court against champion skier Bode Miller for custody of their 13-month-old son. Apparently, the couple met through an online dating service and she got pregnant just prior to the breakup of the relationship.
The couple appears to have little direct communications, but they are both on record as striving to agree on a sharing of time with the child. In Georgia as well as any other state, the parties may enter into a child custody arrangement that is intimately tailored to their particular needs and abilities to provide sustenance and love for the child or children. In the most mature arrangements, the parties will strive to be flexible, understanding and sincerely focused on the best interests of the children rather than their own egocentric peculiarities.
Source: ABC News, "Bode Miller's Ex Discusses Child Custody Fight", , April 2, 2014