When it comes to child custody cases, judges consider a number of factors before determining custody and visitation. Before your hearing, your family attorney in Cumming will carefully review all aspects of your case to determine how you can best achieve your custody goals. Here are some of the things the judge will take into account when making a ruling during your family law proceeding.
The judge will thoroughly investigate each parent’s living situation to ensure it is safe and suitable for the children. In addition to things like making sure the home is free from things like crime and drug abuse, the judge will also evaluate how stable each home is. For instance, if one parent is home each night to cook dinner and help with homework while the other must frequently travel for work, the judge is more likely to rule that the children should primarily live with the parent who is able to home more, provided the environment is safe. The judge must also consider factors like the proximity of each residence to the child’s school as well as sports and social activities.
Family law requires the judge to consider what kind of relationship each parent had with the children before the divorce. If one parent was closer to the children, he or she may have the upper hand in a custody dispute. While custody decisions are made to protect each parent’s ability to remain involved in his or her children’s lives, they are not used to force a new degree of closeness into the parent-child relationship that didn’t exist during the marriage.
Judges may take the children’s own preferences into considerations when making a determination. In Georgia once children reach the age of 11 they may express their preference for a primary caregiver to a Court. A court may consider this request but it is not one that the Court must give any deference to. But once a child is 14, that child’s election is presumptively controlling. Meaning the party opposing the election is going to have to overcome the presumption that the child’s election should be honored.