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Georgia Child Custody
In Georgia, if parents cannot reach a custody decision, the judge will make a custody decision based on the best interests of the child. Among the factors the court will consider when determining whether to grant joint or sole custody:
- Each parent's custody wishes
- Each parent's heath, character, and fitness
- The wishes of the child
- The parents' ability to communicate with one another
- Any history of domestic abuse
If a child is more than 14 years old, he or she may choose which parent will have custody (with the court's approval).
All divorcing parents will be required to create a parenting plan as part of the custody agreement. Both parents are bound by the court's custody order once it has been signed by the judge and filed with the court clerk.
A Georgia child custody lawyer can help explain your legal options, help represent you in court, and negtiate a child custody agreement.
In Georgia, there are several ways to establish paternity of a child:
- Marriage at the time of the child's birth
- Unwed parents sign a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment Form
- Court order
In Georgia, child support is calculated based on the non-custodial parent's gross income and the number of children the parent supports. The percentage of the non-custodial parent's gross income usually allocated for support is:
- One child: 17% to 23%
- Two children: 23% to 28%
- Three children: 25% to 32%
- Four children: 29% to 35%
- Five or more children: 31% to 37%
The court is allowed to deviate from the child support guidelines if outside factors suggest the calculation is inappropriate in a particular case.
Georgia child support can also be adjusted if circumstances change in the future. These would include:
- A significant change in one parent's income
- A change in the child's financial needs (such as extraordinary medical or educational expenses)
Once the divorce has been granted, child support payments can be processed through the Georgia Division of Child Support Services. Payment can be set up online, making the process more convenient for both parties. If payment of child support becomes a problem, the Georgia Department of Human Services Office of Child Support Services is responsible for child support enforcement.
Georgia Custody Additional Resources
- The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction & Enforcement Act
- The Office of Child Support Services offers child access and visitation services
- The State Bar of Georgia's divorce pamphlet includes information on custody and child support