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Preparing for your custody court date in Georgia

Appearing in court for a custody hearing in Georgia requires parents to come with several important documents prepared. If you and your co-parent are approaching a custody hearing, be sure that you have the proper documentation and agreements worked out ahead of time. This can help you ensure that your time is not wasted in the courtroom and to protect your rights as a parent.

One of the most important documents you must provide at a custody hearing is a parenting plan that both you and your co-parent agree upon. While it is not always possible for parents to agree on these issues, you probably stand a better chance of receiving the custody you are seeking by providing a strong parenting plan in the hearing rather than allowing the court to decide these issues without your input.

Your parenting plan should include

  • A schedule detailing which parent has physical custody of your child on each day of the year
  • A written provision that determines where the child will spend holidays and vacations
  • An agreement detailing how each parent may contact the child and communicate with him or her while the child is with the other parent.
  • An agreement outlining how to transport the child when it is time to transfer custody and suggested pick-up and drop-off times and locations.

In addition, it is wise to consider adding language that specifically restricts interference from either parent into the other's parenting time and relationship with the child. This should include language that preserves both parents' right to contact the child and speak with him or her or communicate with them as well as explicit restrictions against manipulative behavior such as speaking poorly of the other parent in the child's presence.

This agreement may affect many years of your life and can deeply impact your child's upbringing, so be sure to use the legal tools and support that you have to protect your interests and keep your child secure.

Source: Georgia.gov, "Child Custody," accessed June 15, 2018

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