Child Custody

Cumming, Georgia Divorce Attorneys Resolve Child Custody Disputes

Capable management of contentious legal issues

At Lipscomb, Johnson, Sleister, Dailey & Smith, LLP, our attorneys realize that child custody is often the most emotionally charged issue in a divorce. We apply sound judgment honed throughout decades of practice to negotiating appropriate solutions that protect your parental rights and serve the best interests of your children. We are skilled at developing manageable parenting plans that fit your particular lifestyle and parenting goals. When it is necessary to litigate custody disputes, we maintain the utmost professionalism, implementing proven strategies to advance your goals while sparing your children as much stress as possible.

Georgia child custody law puts your children’s interests first

In any child custody dispute, the guiding principle for the court is the best interests of the children. The court starts with the presumption that frequent, meaningful contact with both parents is in the child’s best interests, but facts unique to your situation may override that presumption. Georgia law requires that courts treat parents equally.

Custody law in Georgia breaks down as follows:

  • Legal custody — The authority to make decisions that impact the child’s health and welfare, including matters of medical care, education, religious formation, general discipline and enrichment activities.
  • Physical custody — The right to have the child live in the parent’s residence, along with the duty to provide necessities such as food, clothing and shelter.
  • Sole versus joint custody — Each type of custody can be shared by both parents (joint) or assigned exclusively to one parent (sole). When one parent gets sole physical custody, the noncustodial parent generally gets visitation or parenting time and pays child support to the custodial parent. Parents generally share legal custody unless the court determines that one parent lacks the capacity to make mature decisions or the child has special needs that one parent has formal training to address.

Our divorce attorneys can help you negotiate a parenting plan that details your custody rights and obligations and present it to the judge for approval. In the absence of an agreement, the issue must go to trial, and the judge decides on a custody arrangement that balances parental rights and advances the best interests of the child.

Modifications of custody orders and parenting plans in Georgia

Eventually, you will probably need to modify your parenting plan. As your children grow, they will have different needs. Your life, post-divorce, will also change. You may be able to negotiate a modification with your ex, but for a new custody agreement to be enforceable, you must get a new court order.

You might also find yourself in an adversarial position with your ex because of various conflicts, such as:

  • Parental behavior detrimental to the child — If your ex lives an immoral lifestyle, puts your child at risk, or may actually be abusing your child, you can petition the court to deny custody, order restricted visitation, order supervised visitation or deny visitation until the offending behavior ends.
  • Parental alienation — If your ex is deliberately or passively attempting to poison your child’s relationship to you, you can petition the court to grant custody to you and/or order your ex to discontinue alienating behavior.
  • Interference with visitation — If your ex fails to make your children available for your parenting time, you can ask the court to hold your ex in contempt of court.
  • Parental relocation — Custodial parents cannot move with the children to a location that would burden the other parent’s visitation rights unless the court gives permission.

When conflicts arise with your parenting plan, you should not attempt to exercise “self-help.” Instead, contact a family lawyer at our firm immediately to address the issue through the court.

Contact our Cumming divorce lawyers for child custody litigation

Our experienced divorce attorneys can help you obtain the best results in your child custody dispute. Call Lipscomb, Johnson, Sleister, Dailey & Smith, LLP at 470-839-9467 or contact us online for reliable, compassionate assistance. We look forward to assisting with your case.