Child custody laws in Cumming, GA, are intended to support the best interests of the child. However, family law judges have discretion in determining exactly what this means for each particular case. There are a range of factors that a family law judge may consider when establishing child custody and visitation. Your family attorney can help you learn about the possible outcomes of your case.
Physical custody refers to the physical residence of the child. A parent may have sole physical custody of the child or physical custody may be shared between parents, which is an arrangement referred to as joint custody. In most cases, family law judges tend to assume that ongoing contact with each parent is in the best interests of the child. However, if the other parent has a significant history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or similar issues, then the judge may decide to award full physical custody to the responsible parent.
Legal custody refers to the parental right and responsibility to make major decisions for the child. These include the significant aspects of a child’s upbringing, such as his or her religious training, schooling, and healthcare. Like physical custody, legal custody may be sole or joint. It is possible for parents to share joint physical custody, but for one parent to have sole legal custody. The parent with whom the child spends the most amount of time will generally have legal custody.
One important aspect of any child custody arrangement is the establishment of a parenting plan, which will spell out visitation arrangements. Even when parents share physical custody, for practical purposes, the child will usually consider one residence to be his or her primary home. The parenting plan determines at which home the child will be on certain days. Parenting plans cover visitation week days, weekends, holidays, school vacations, and special events like the child’s birthday. A solid parenting plan should also include details on transportation, such as who will be responsible for transporting the child and whether the parents will exchange the child at a neutral meeting point or at a home.