When a divorce or separation occurs, matters of child custody and the well-being of children involved become of paramount concern. It is in both parent’s best interests to enlist the help of our experts at William H. Smith Law in order to minimize trauma and disruption to the child’s life to the greatest extent possible.
As the State of Georgia notes, it’s important for parents to develop a viable plan for childcare and custody prior to initiation of proceedings. It will be up to a judge to grant sole custody, joint custody, and/or visitation rights by determining what appears to be best for the child’s well-being and continued growth and development.
Weighing the Needs of the Child
When determining custody rights, a judge will consider a variety of factors beyond immediate family needs, including access to education, healthcare, and even extra-curricular activities. While each parent may be emotionally involved in the outcome of the custody hearing, the judge will take a holistic view of the child’s development to ensure his or her individual rights and opportunities are not curtailed by parental choices.
For this reason, no matter what level of communication you currently share with your spouse through divorce or separation proceedings, it’s helpful to present a united front whenever possible regarding the development of your child. The judge will not only consider their emotional and social well-being today, but into the future when they will be considered old enough to make their own custody choices in the eyes of the law at age 14.
In complicated cases where the parents are diametrically opposed to joint custody or co-parenting or if there has been documented abuse, custody proceedings can become protracted and convoluted. One way to reduce this risk is to be as prepared as possible ahead of time and to have attempted formal or informal arbitration or mediation to get both parents on the same page. This is best accomplished when you have a team of impartial professionals in your corner to help you and your family achieve resolution and put the focus back onto your child’s growth and development as quickly as possible.