Child custody negotiations can be contentious when Georgia parents cannot agree regarding what arrangements will serve their children's best interests. When parents can't find common ground and execute their own parenting plans, the courts may step in and mandate how two parents will share in the legal and physical custodial responsibilities of their kids. However, many sets of parents can work together to create parenting plans that acknowledge their children's needs and include both parents in the upbringing of their offspring.
Joint custody with equal time sharing between two parents is an initial presumption for a child custody order in many states and in the minds of many family law judges. In reality, these kinds of custody plans may end up taking a toll on the children involved. The system is generally handled better in Georgia and some other states where the courts are not saddled with an initial presumption that joint custody and equal sharing is the first preference.
There are good reasons why shared custody is the favored arrangement of family law courts nationwide, including in Georgia. Experts assert that children do better with both parents in the picture. That cannot always be the case with the traditional practice of granting the sole right of child custody to one parent, and having no provision for shared parenting responsibilities.
Many Georgia residents know that divorce can be difficult for children of the couple. As a result, parents may want to make the transition as easy as possible for their children. This desire may mean coming to terms amicably about child custody to ensure that a battle does not ensue. Individuals who wish to follow such a path may have many options available to them.
According to the founder of the National Parents Organization, several recent studies by separate, independent experts conclude across the board that children reared by only one parent after a divorce or separation do much more poorly than children who are brought up in a shared or joint custody arrangement. The superiority of a shared child custody setup applies in Georgia as well as elsewhere. It is clear that most children benefit greatly from having the love, guidance, and companionship of each parent on an equal basis. Nonetheless, family courts nationwide overwhelmingly award sole custody in one parent.
In Georgia and all other states, the role of stepparents in a child custody matter can be important. It may be that a child’s stepparent is a nurturing person who develops a strong parental role in caring for a stepchild. The relationship may be greater than what the child has with a natural parent. In one recent child custody case, however, a biological mother prevailed in a battle for custody with the child’s stepmother.
Television sitcom actress Kelly Rutherford has been embroiled in an international custody dispute for the past several years. It started in 2008 when Rutherford, while pregnant with the couple’s daughter and second child, filed for divorce. Despite a child custody agreement hammered out between the parties in April 2010, she obtained a restraining order against the father just a month later. Whether in Georgia or another jurisdiction, a custody dispute spanning the borders of foreign countries can be a most difficult and frustrating challenge for both parents.
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.
The technological revolution has spawned the advent of social media, which continues to spread into corners of our lives once held to be private and personal. Some experienced observers thus recommend that a person in a divorce or custody matter check one’s social media content to make sure that nothing questionable appears there. In Georgia or elsewhere, this may be helpful with respect to a child custody battle, where many casual expressions can be misconstrued.
Whether in Georgia or another state, the best interests of the children is the critical mantra that governs ultimate outcomes in custody matters. Unfortunately, defining the term with precision is an elusive undertaking. It generally rises and falls on the circumstances of each case. Thus, it can be said that the best interests test in a child custody matter really often boils down to a fact-intensive search to determine which parent has more of the desire, sensitivities, experience and proven child-rearing capabilities to best care for the children under the circumstances.