If you are getting ready for your first court hearing for child custody, you are likely feeling some anxiety, but getting tips from child custody attorneys will help you to prepare and put your mind at ease. While we do not have a crystal ball to tell you exactly what will happen during the hearing, we can offer advice to help you prepare and put your best face (and case) forward when it’s time to go to court.
Of course, working closely with child custody attorneys is your best option to get the support and assistance you need for the child custody hearing. In addition to having the right legal help, consider these top tips to get yourself as prepared as possible:
Tip #1: Understand Georgia’s Child Custody Laws
Before you head to court, it makes sense to get yourself current on the child custody laws in Georgia. Knowing what the law actually says is much better than making assumptions or realizing you were misinformed when it is too late.
Here are important facts you need to know about the child custody laws in Georgia:
- Georgia courts do not have a preference for sole custody or joint custody.
- Family courts determine child custody based on the best interests of the child. Period. So, it is no longer true that the mother is more likely to get the child, or the father is at a disadvantage for child custody issues.
- The best interests of the child are based on several factors including:
- Child’s wishes—at the age of 14, the child can decide.
- The relationship between parent and child.
- Parent’s ability to provide for the child financially
- Home environment safety or lack of safety
- Parent’s mental and physical health.
- Employment schedule of the parent
- Parent’s willingness to encourage a relationship between child and other parent.
- Parent’s involvement and support in the child’s education and extracurricular activities
- Criminal record of the parent
Tip #2: Be Prepared to Submit a Parenting Plan
In the state of Georgia, the family courts require parents to submit a parenting plan for child custody decisions and modifications. A parenting plan puts in writing exactly how the parent plans to hand child custody with the co-parent. The parenting plan will cover the following topics:
- An acknowledgement that a consistent, close relationship is in the best interest of the child.
- A statement that the parent with primary custody will be the one making daily decisions for the child when the child is with him or her.
- A statement regarding how holidays, birthdays and school breaks will be handled by the parents.
- A description of how parents will determine issues such as the child’s health care, education, and extra-curricular activities.
If you are seeking more information about what to expect from a child custody hearing or the benefits of working with child custody attorneys in the state of Georgia, our team at Reeder Law Firm is here to help. So, contact one of the best family law attorneys in Alpharetta today.