Coparenting is a challenge for many divorced and separated parents. Both of you want to spend as much time as possible bonding with your child. This means both parties are likely to be fighting for custody, and this could lead to a potentially difficult custody battle. You probably have many questions about child custody. A great child custody lawyer in Atlanta can answer many of these questions. There are also some helpful questions and answers below.
Ask a Child Custody Lawyer in Atlanta: 6 Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is There a Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody?
If you haven’t been through a custody battle before, then you most likely don’t know the difference between legal and physical custody. In short, parents typically share legal custody. Having legal custody of your child means you are allowed to make important decisions regarding the child’s schooling and medical care.
Physical custody refers only to who the child lives with. Many parents wish to share physical custody and split their time as evenly as possible. In some cases, only one parent may win primary physical custody, and the other parent may only have visitation rights on weekends and other set dates.
2. How Is Custody Decided?
Family courts have a goal to do what is in the best interests of the child in each case. The court will take into consideration each parent’s home environment, the distance between the homes, the parents’ caretaking abilities, whether or not the parents can be cooperative, each parent’s financial situation, and which parent the child would prefer to live with (if the child is 14 years old or over).
Child custody attorneys in Atlanta, GA will be happy to help you determine what type of custody arrangement suits your family best. Most of the time, the Chicago family lawyer and court will try to give each parent an equal amount of time with the child. If there are unfortunate circumstances that make it difficult for the parents to share custody, your attorneys will have to develop a different solution.
3. What Is Meant by the Child’s “Best Interests”?
Best interests refer to a situation that is most ideal for the child. The courts generally agree that it’s in the best interests of the child to maintain healthy relationships with both parents as much as possible. However, they need to provide the child with the best chance in life. They may award physical custody to the parent with the best financial situation, most suitable home environment, and similar criteria.
For example, if one parent is unemployed and lives in a one-bedroom apartment, then the other parent with a full-time job and a three-bedroom home will most likely receive physical custody of the child. Custody cases can be reviewed if circumstances change.
4. Should I Work With a Child Custody Lawyer?
Your divorce lawyer can offer advice on custody, and hiring a child custody lawyer isn’t always necessary if you can come to an amicable agreement to share custody. However, if one parent demands full custody of the child, then hiring a child custody lawyer will give you the best chance of coming to a fair solution for both of you.
If your child custody hearing goes to court, then having a lawyer present will give you the best chance of getting the outcome you desire.
5. Will I Receive Child Support If I Have Custody?
Child support is calculated based on the child’s needs. The parent with primary physical custody most often receives child support payments from the other parent. The parent with primary physical custody pays for caring for the child, housing, and feeding them. This counts as their share of child support.
The payments from the parent without physical custody should be used only for the child’s wants and needs. These wants and needs may include clothing, education, social activities, healthcare, and more. The obligation for child support payment in Georgia ends when the child reaches legal adulthood, gets married, or becomes emancipated.
6. Can I Prevent My Ex From Visiting My Child if They Don’t Pay Child Support?
The court orders visitation, and preventing your ex from seeing their child is violating this. Violating a court order is against the law. However, you can contact the court if your ex refuses to pay the full amount of your child support payment. The court can impose a jail sentence or garnish your ex’s wages if they still refuse to provide the full amount of what they owe.
Child custody cases can be messy if both parents don’t cooperate. Hiring a child custody lawyer can help you deal with these difficult cases. Keeping your child’s best interests in mind is the best way to deal with custody during your separation or divorce, and a child custody lawyer can help you do that.