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.
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.
Georgia parents may recognize that one of the realities of getting a divorce is the process of negotiating for child custody. While it may not always be easy to fit the backward and forward shuttling of children into busy schedules, many divorced parents have managed to agree on workable parenting plans. Reaching an agreeable schedule typically requires tolerance and the ability to communicate and compromise. However, many couples have reached a stage where communication is non-existent, and external help may be required to reach suitable agreements with regard to child custody.
Custody and visitation in a divorce scenario may be a particularly difficult and challenging proposition for some parents. Whether the parents reside in Georgia or anywhere else, the bitterness and regret that they may feel in the aftermath of a separation and a divorce can be emotionally devastating. In those situations, child custody and visitation interchanges and contacts may be the central setting for the expression of emotionally charged conflicts.
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.