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Child custody requires adult caring and sharing of duties

For residents of Georgia who may be entering the divorce and custody process for the first time it may help to have some preliminary ideas to think about. Divorce is never pleasant, and perhaps the best we can do is to view it as a survival experience, or a path to becoming stronger in facing life’s obstacles. With respect to child custody, this may be the toughest part, but there are ways to focus on the positive and make the most out of a new family perspective.

To some extent, all divorcing persons are going to sorely miss prior experiences of togetherness. This is especially so with respect to the relatively uncomplicated good times enjoyed with the children. The mind’s eye must be readjusted and refocused to see things in a new way, without triggering regret, frustration or anger.

First, the legal issues should ideally be negotiated to an amicable agreement. So-called joint or shared custody is not often a 50-50 split of time and responsibility with the children. Instead, it means that the parents will share jointly and equally the responsibilities for the welfare, upbringing, education, social and cultural activities of the children. There is most likely going to be a parent with primary physical custody, with the other parent being in the noncustodial role.

The noncustodial parent will pay a certain computed percentage of his or her net income over to the other parent for the support and welfare of the children. This is pretty much a given that cannot be evaded. A 50-50 split of time with the children, such that neither parent will pay child support, is not often achieved.

Most importantly, throughout the process neither parent can act out his or her frustrations in front of the children. The easiest way to lose custody is to use the children as sounding boards, or as pawns in a game of payback. In Georgia and every state, the best relationship is based on respect and cooperation. In being a mature adult about the experience, the children will be free to grow up with a strong role model to guide them.

Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Lessons: 8 Critical Choices in Making a Positive Split", John McElhenney, Aug. 5, 2014

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