Divorce and separation are never easy situations. When children are a part of the family dynamic, the stakes get even higher. Custody concerns can create heated emotions a host of additional considerations during the settlement process. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are facing a divorce or separation combined with child custody in the State of Georgia.
Before your hearing there are several things you should discuss with your attorney to ensure that your best interests as well as those of your child are considered.
Visitation schedules – It is important to clearly define visitation expectations for every day of the year, noting who will have your child on any given day.
Holidays – This can be a very sensitive issue as both parents will likely want custody of the children during these special moments. Carefully consider who will have visitation for each holiday during the year.
Vacations – Summer vacation is another time when parents can have strong feelings about custody rights. Set a schedule for your child’s summer break defining the terms for longer durations.
Transportation – Determine drop-off and pick-up expectations, and who will be responsible for delivering the children during custody switches.
Contact during custody – Create a well-defined agreement regarding how often a parent can contact the children when they are in the custody of the other parent.
Here are a few terms to be familiar with before your hearing.
Custody decision – The judge will hear input from both parents and then will make a final custody decision based on what he or she feels is in the best interest of the child. Once the judge makes a ruling, it cannot be changed unless there is some mitigating circumstance in the family dynamic.
Sole custody – In this type of custody, the judge approves visitation terms for the non-custodial parent, however this parent will have no legal authority to speak on behalf of the child.
Joint custody – This means that both parents both have legal authority over the child and make decisions together on their behalf. Additionally, they both have equal parenting time.
In addition to understanding your rights in a child custody case, it is crucial to have experienced and trusted legal representation to help you through these sensitive proceedings. Contact the law offices of Attorney Matthew G. Midgett, in Savannah, Georgia, for thorough and compassionate family law representation.