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Tips for requesting a change in custody court dates

Divorce, and the custody issues that come with it, can be stressful for parents in Georgia, and fitting court dates for custody hearing around work and other obligations can be even more difficult. In general, courts expect parents to be available for these hearings at the times they are set, but there are circumstances in which a date might be changed.

A parent may have moved to a different state. There may be circumstances in which a change of venue is allowed, but for the most part, courts prefer to hold hearings in the jurisdiction where the child lives. A parent who does attempt to make this change will need to provide proof of address. If the hearing is at a time that clashes with the parent’s work, it may be possible to get the time changed with a note from the parent’s employer.

Another situation is one in which the parent feels unsafe appearing in court. The parent should have documentation, such as a protective order, that supports this. Even if a court does not agree to postpone or move a hearing, it might be possible for the parent to appear via phone or video.

Not all parents who are getting a divorce will end up in a custody battle. Many parents are able to reach an agreement on child custody, visitation, support and other divorce-related issues through negotiation or mediation. This also allows parents to create a schedule that works well for them and their children. Parents may agree to share custody, but a noncustodial parent may still have a significant amount of time with the children. A legally binding agreement protects parents and children if the other parent violates any part of it. If a change in circumstances necessitates a change in the agreement, parents can return to court for a modification.

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