Child Custody Lawyer with offices in Roswell & Alpharetta
Protecting Your Parental Rights In Child Custody
When the family unit breaks up in a divorce, it can be devastating for everyone
involved, especially the children. Oftentimes they struggle to make sense of what is happening around them.
As a parent going through the divorce process, the happiness and overall well-
being of your children is your first and foremost concern.
Determining child custody can be incredibly stressful and emotionally draining. The possibility of not seeing your child every day or only on certain holidays is very distressing.
Supportive And Trustworthy Legal Representation
Seek the assistance of a highly qualified and trustworthy divorce attorney who will protect your parental rights and pursue an outcome in the best interests of you and your children.
Attorney Elyssa K. Williams offers supportive guidance and dedicated child custody representation to families in Fulton County, GA. She understands that every family’s situation is unique and works with you to customize a custody and visitation plan.
Attorney Williams always strives to resolve family conflicts in an amicable way with little disruption caused to the children.
If your spouse refuses to cooperate, she will not hesitate to fight vigorously on your behalf in court.
The Law Office of Elyssa K. Williams can effectively help you any child custody conflict you may encounter, including but not limited to:
- Determining physical and legal custody
- Establishing the children’s primary custodial residence
- Finalizing visitation schedules
- Creating a family plan
What Do I Do If I Need A Child Custody Order Right Away?
If you need to establish a custody agreement while you are going through divorce proceedings, you can file a temporary order with the court. Compelling reasons for filing a temporary order may include:
- The children are threatened with abuse or are in danger while in the presence of your spouse
- One parent cannot financially afford to take care of the children
- Conflicting work schedules and work-related travel commitments of one or both parents
- Parent is ill or incapacitated
A temporary order can also be beneficial in non-emergency situations and can be a way to create a sense of stability for the children until the more permanent custody agreement is established in the final divorce decree.
Call (678) 613-5732 if you need to file a temporary or emergency child custody order. We can advise you of your legal rights and guide you through the process.
Determining Who Should Have Primary Custody of Your Children After The Divorce
As parents, you and your spouse know your children better than anyone.
It’s advisable to meet each other halfway to establish a mutually agreed upon custody plan.
If you and your spouse cannot compromise, a judge will act in what he/she considers to be in the ‘best interest of the children’ to determine a custody arrangement.
Child Custody Laws In Georgia
To help you make the best choice for your children’s future, it’s important to understand the child custody laws in Georgia.
Custody is divided into two types: physical custody and legal custody.
- Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with.
- Legal custody defines which parent will make major decisions regarding the children’s upbringing including their education, health care, extra curricular activities and religious beliefs.
In most cases in Georgia, parents share physical and legal custody.
- Joint physical custody: Physical custody is shared to assure the child has equal time and contact with both parents. The judge will designate one parent as the primary custodian, and the other parent will receive visitation rights.
- Joint legal custody: Parents will share the responsibility in making decisions regarding their children’s upbringing. Both parents will have equal access to any records or information pertaining to their children.
- In rare cases, sole custody may be awarded, which assigns all custodial rights to one parent and the other parent has no rights.
Can My Child Choose Which Parent He/She Wishes To Live With?
Yes. In Georgia, children who are 14 years or older can make a custody selection about which parent they would prefer to live with.
If children ages 11-13 would like to make a selection, the judge will consider if the selection meets the children’s “desires and educational needs.”
A judge does have the discretion to overrule a child’s wishes if he/she feels living with the child’s preferred parent is not in the child’s best interests.
Visitation Rights For Grandparents
Grandparents often play a meaningful role in their grandchildren’s lives. Just because a divorce has taken place in the family, doesn’t mean that the grandparent’s relationship with the children has to end.
In Georgia, grandparents have the right to file their own court action or to intervene in an ongoing custody proceeding to obtain visitation rights.
A court may grant reasonable visitation rights if it finds that visitation would best serve the best interests of the child, and that withholding visitation could be detrimental to the children’s health and welfare.
Developing A Parenting Plan And Visitation Schedule
According to the child custody laws in Georgia, a parenting plan is required for any custody agreement. Parenting plans are meant to:
- Outline the decision-making authority each parent will have over various aspects of their children’s lives
- Lay out the terms and conditions surrounding “parenting time” or visitation
Attorney Williams will work with you to develop a practical parenting plan that allows you to successfully co-parent your children after the dissolution of marriage.
What’s Included in a Parenting Plan?
- Residential schedule
- How holidays, birthdays, vacations, school breaks, and other special occasions will be spent.
- Transportation arrangements, including how and where the child will be transported and how transportation costs will be paid.
- Whether supervision is needed, and if so, the particulars of the supervision.
- How the parents will allocate decision-making authority with regard to the child’s education, health, extracurricular activities, and religious upbringing.
- To prepare for any future disagreements, the parenting plan will outline how to resolve a situation in which the parents disagree.
- What, if any, limitations exist while one parent has physical custody in terms of the other parents contacting the child and the other parent’s right to access information regarding the child.
After the parenting plan has been completed and approved by the court, the order will be included as part of the divorce decree.
When Parents Can’t Agree, The Decision Rests With The Judge
If you cannot reach agreement on custody, a judge will do so.
Many factors will be taken into consideration to arrive at a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the children.
Among the many factors to be considered include:
- The children’s ages, gender, and preferences
- Physical and mental health of both parents
- Work schedules of both parents
- Living situation of both parents
- The bond and emotional ties that exist between each parent and the children
- Each parent’s ability to care for and nurture the child
- Each parent’s ability to provide clothing, food and medical care
- Each parent’s familiarity with their children’s medical, educational and societal needs
- Each parent’s willingness to foster a relationship with the other parent
- Relationship between child with his/her siblings, and any step-siblings that may reside in the parent’s home
- Any criminal background of either parent
- Drug or alcohol problems
- Previous childhood abandonment
If you’re looking for a reliable and trustworthy child custody attorney in Fulton County, GA, look no further — Elyssa Williams will fight to protect your parental rights.
Don’t gamble with your children’s future. Give us a call (678) 613-5732 today for a Free consultation