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Child Custody

Experienced Child Custody Attorney Represents Parents in Macon

Thoughtful advice from a Georgia lawyer to serve the best interests of your children

As a parent, your personal relationship with your children is one of the most important aspects of your life. You also have strong ideas and opinions about how they should be raised and how to best protect their health and welfare. But if you are going through a divorce or have never been married to your child’s other parent, your concerns may be at odds with that parent, who also has the same legal rights to exercise authority over your children. At Skinner Family Law, I help parents overcome obstacles to custody settlements. Drawing on more than 30 years of legal experience, I negotiate parenting plans that protect your rights and keep your children safe.

Basics of child custody in Georgia

Child custody in Georgia falls into two main categories of legal rights:

  • Physical custody — Courts rarely order joint physical custody. Physical custodian is the primary caretaker of the child providing basic physical needs, such as shelter, food, and clothing. Generally, as long as both parents are fit, one parent is awarded primary physical custody,and the other parent is given secondary physical custody, which means they get visitation on the weekends, holidays and during the summer. If one parent is unfit, the other parent can be awarded sole physical custody, which means the non-custodial parent may not even receive visitation.
  • Joint legal custody — Most parties are given joint legal custody, which allows the noncustodial parent a right to access school and medical records and take the child to the doctor in an emergency if they are not the primary custodian.

In a divorce, parents are required to present the court with a parenting plan detailing where the child will live each day of the year, the amount of time the child will spend with each parent, and how parents will handle major decisions affecting the child’s welfare. Unmarried parents can also ask the court to issue a child custody order, provided the father has gone through the process of legitimation.

Factors the Georgia court considers when deciding child custody matters

Georgia family law courts must base child custody decisions on the best interests of the child. There is a presumption in the law that frequent, meaningful contact between the child and each parent is in the child’s best interest unless that contact would prove harmful to the child. The court can deny custody and visitation if the parent is unfit due to:

  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Other factors

Courts can also consider a child’s preference of where to live if the child is 11 years of age or older and demonstrates sufficient maturity, and courts can consider wishes of 11 year old in change of custody action or in a divorce action.

A parenting plan must address all of your child’s present needs, but it must also take into account the fact that a child’s needs change over time. I have the knowledge and experience to design a parenting plan that meets your needs and to negotiate manageable solutions on key points of disagreement.

Contact a knowledgeable attorney for child custody in Georgia

Skinner Family Law provides personalized attention to your urgent child custody issues. I can help you develop a parenting plan that works for all concerned and gets court approval. Call me at 478-845-1058 or contact my Macon office online to schedule a consultation.

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Our Office
  • 501 College Street
    Suite 105
    Macon, Georgia 31201
    Phone: 478-742-7400
    Fax: 478-721-6752